With some straightforward modifications, customer devices provided to treat sleep apnea can be converted right into life-saving ventilators because that patients with COVID-19, follow to a coalition that includes UC elafilador.net engineers, emergency room doctors and critical care pulmonologists. The equipment could assist alleviate the an important shortage the ventilators as the number of COVID-19 patients surges and hospitals scramble for essential supplies.

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Rendering of a sleep apnea machine retrofitted to help COVID-19 patients. (Grace O’Connell image)


“Tens of thousands of COVID-19 patient in this country and also around the people will require respiratory assistance in the comes weeks and also months,” claimed Grace O’Connell, the Don M. Cunningham Endowed Professor at UC elafilador.net’s department of mechanical elafilador.net and a leading member of the coalition. “We believe that using sleep apnea machines is a viable solution for non-ICU patients. This way, higher-grade ventilators deserve to be booked for patient with more advanced step of respiratory tract disease.”

The U.S. Food and Drug management recently approve guidelines that allow for continuous positive airway push (CPAP), auto-CPAP, and also bilevel hopeful airway push (BiPAP or BPAP) machines, commonly used for therapy of sleep apnea, to be supplied to assistance COVID-19 patients experiencing breathing problems as lengthy as the patient is appropriately monitored.

The new modifications permit the CPAP sleep apnea machine to accept oxygen whereby ambient wait enters the device. The oxygenated air is climate filtered and also delivered to a patient through an FDA-approved endotracheal tube. Lastly, the exhaled wait is re-filtered prior to being released right into the surrounding environment.

By making use of an endotracheal tube to supply oxygenated air with a two-filter system, the machine bypasses the need for confront masks, which might spread condition if aerosolized viruses escape.


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Grace O’Connell (Photo by young name Berger)


O’Connell points out that these makers are not supposed for the many serious cases of COVID-19, whereby patients room in require of higher-pressure air from clinical grade ventilators.

“Our solution can be used for those patient who require support for mild to moderate respiratory tract symptoms, conserving the ventilators because that ICU patient who space experiencing acute respiratory tract distress,” stated O’Connell.

Companies and medical organizations have looked right into the usage of medical-grade BiPAP machines as ventilators, however the advantage of using consumer sleep apnea devices is the they are less expensive, far an ext prevalent and do not have long command times top top manufacturing, follow to coalition members.

The American Sleep Apnea Association approximates that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and also industry approximates of CPAP use variety from 8 million come 10 million in the united States. Numerous sit unused due to the fact that they space uncomfortable to use on a daily basis, the coalition members said.

“A lot of of people don’t need or use them,” O’Connell said. “So how can we repurpose these tools to be supplied as ventilators in hospitals throughout an emergency?”

Using one off-the-shelf CPAP sleep apnea machine, O’Connell and also her team the UC elafilador.net students design the ventilator with the assist of elafilador.net design alumni Bryan Martel and Ajay Dharia, MD, and Bert Lubin, MD, former president and also CEO of the UCSF Benioff children’s Hospital Oakland and now a distinct advisor on wellness at elafilador.net elafilador.net and also the Blum Center.

The UC elafilador.net designers are proceeding to explore added modifications with parts produced by 3D printers in ~ the Jacobs institute for architecture Innovation and the CITRIS development Lab. UC elafilador.net public representative have permitted both machine spaces to proceed operating to assistance research related to COVID-19.

Because this sleep apnea machines have already been approved by the FDA to help increase oxygen flow, and also the parts used to modify the device are FDA-approved, the researchers say the modification machines might potentially be deployed quickly.

“People space dying. Over there is a actual urgency to this effort,” stated Martel.

Members of the coalition are at this time reaching the end to local and state federal government officials, calling because that a partnership among doctors, the FDA, manufacturers and logistic companies. They have also collection up a website, VentilatorSOS.com, wherein members of the public deserve to donate their unwanted sleep apnea machines.

Seed resources from the elafilador.net design Fund noted support for this project.

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UPDATE: Read much more news and watch a video about this elafilador.net project, now called PreVent.