• Emily Wallace

#KeepBreathing Ventilator Design Progresses Further

The CRT design team are working around the clock making fantastic progress. We have built two different bench-top proof of concept systems which have been evaluated by various different expert groups including ventilator engineers, a team of consultant anaesthetists and the ICU technical teams.

The ventilator we are developing is known as a Volume Controlled Mandatory Mechanical Ventilator. It is an invasive system, meaning that a tube is inserted into the lungs of the patient to provide air to the patient and keep them breathing. It is intended for the cohort of patients that are most ill and that without a ventilator would not survive. The design is largely mechanical with little electronics. This approach was taken so that it could be built faster, tested rapidly and reproduced internationally without a global supply chain.

The controls in the system allow the specialist in ICU to control 5 variables including:

1. The volume of air delivered.

2. The maximum pressure in the lungs.

3. The Positive End Expiratory pressure (PEEP).

4. The number of breaths per minute.

5. The inspiration to expiration timing ratio.

We are now building the first fully functional prototype which is very close to what will be delivered to hospitals. This will be used for more extensive testing and demonstration to expert groups and regulators.

In addition to the Emergency Ventilator Project, some additional CRT teams have begun to respond to other COVID related issues in hospitals. The generous support from experts and the public have allowed us to do this.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, we built stands for ventilators which could not be shipped from the USA due to breakdown in the supply chain. These are now installed in hospitals like Tallaght and St James's (see photo below).

We have separate teams working on a number of issues regarding Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare staff. This includes helping to minimise contamination and contagion around patients in ICU and in other respiratory tract procedures. With the support of several industry and academic partners, we hope to present prototypes to clinicians by the end of the week.

We are continuing to support the HSE solving issues with other new systems being rolled out this week as well as helping to get other ventilators to hospitals as quickly as possible.

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