Affordable ventilator made from resuscitation bags

Date:16 April 2020 Author: Adrian Brown

The demand for ventilators across the world is steadily increasing day by day as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, many scientists and researchers are trying to find alternatives.

The US has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus and it is no surprise that, as ventilators are hard to come by and expensive, they have become a hub for alternative ideas.

It seems that a group of engineers from Georgia Tech and Emory University in Atlanta may have found a solution. They have developed a simple, cheap ventilator which makes use of the resuscitation bags that are used in ambulances.

Susan Margulies, chair of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University told Health Day that her team thought “the fastest way to have an impact would be to look at devices already used to support ventilation.” This is why they used resuscitation bags. They are already used to push air into the lungs.

The device they developed used two resuscitation bags (meaning it can be used on two patients), inexpensive metal, plastic gears, and a simple power source such as a wall outlet or a 12-volt vehicle battery, according to Health Day.

While this is a great alternative, it is intended to only be a temporary fix until a real ventilator becomes available.

Dr John Osborne, director of cardiology at State of the Heart Cardiology in Dallas, told Health Day that this is not a full-blown ventilator. “It doesn’t have monitors, pressure sensors and alarms. I think this could be used for short, emergent periods of time. I don’t think people would use this for weeks,” he said.

He did, however, say that “where the choice is this device and nothing, this is a great option”.

Image: Twitter / BME_GT_Emory

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