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Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use
Date:1/25/2010

A group of UK anaesthetists have designed and tested three prototype low-cost ventilators that could provide vital support during major healthcare emergencies involving large numbers of patients or casualties. The devices, detailed in a paper published online by Anaesthesia, could also be used where resources are limited, such as in developing countries, remote locations or by the military.

"Our research has demonstrated that it is possible to make a gas-efficient ventilator costing less than 200, for use where 2-4 bar oxygen is available, with no pressurised air or electrical requirements" says consultant anaesthetist Dr John Dingley from Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

"Such a device could be mass-produced for crises where there is an overwhelming demand for mechanical ventilation and a limited oxygen supply."

Problems with limited oxygen supply date back to the First World War when medical professionals had to deal with the large numbers of casualties affected by poison gas.

"The physiologist J S Haldane developed a delivery system that provided a high flow of oxygen from a modest fresh gas flow" says Dr Dingley, who is also a Reader in Anaesthetics at Swansea University.

"Modern equipment has become so sophisticated that we have, in some ways, lost sight of the basic principles that can be adopted in emergency healthcare situations.

"So our aim was to extend Haldane's concept of maximally efficient oxygen delivery to include pneumatic gas-powered ventilator designs.

"The initial design was envisaged as a ventilator for difficult environments, especially military scenarios, where large oxygen cylinders would be impractical, or in short supply, and electrical power would be unavailable.

"This led to two variants that are suited to emergency construction in bulk for mass deployment prior to a respiratory failure pandemic or other major healthcare situation."

All three designs
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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