Scientists have developed an inexpensive 'stopgap' ventilator which requires minimal training and could help keep critically ill individuals alive long enough to either recover or receive hospital care.
The GlasVent device has been developed by a team of engineers at the University of Glasgow under the leadership of Professor Ravinder Dahiya.
The goal of GlasVent is to provide a simple, efficient and inexpensive way of delivering oxygen to critically ill patients. Its primary component is a bag valve mask. Bag valve masks are very effective in emergency situations; however, they need to be constantly operated by the medics, and the amount of oxygen delivered with each squeeze can vary.
With GlasVent, scientists have developed a way to automate squeezing the bag, thereby allowing medics to focus on other aspects of care and standardising the amount of oxygen being delivered into patients' lungs. A microcontroller monitors airway pressure to ensure that patients receive the correct volume of oxygen with each compression. In the event of a power failure, the crank has been designed to be easily operated by hand, helping to keep the patient alive.
Prof. Dahiya said: "We hope that once we receive regulatory approval, GlasVent could be used not just to buy some more time for critically ill patients to either fight off disease or be put onto a mechanical ventilator, but to find use in care settings and in the developing world."
A video demonstrating GlasVent is available here.