A breathing aid that can help keep COVID-19 patients out of intensive care, adapted by mechanical engineers at University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL Hospital (UCLH) working with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (Mercedes-AMG HPP), has been approved for use in the NHS.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices have been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help COVID-19 patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily when oxygen alone is insufficient. Reports from Italy indicate that approximately 50% of patients given CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation. However, such devices are in short supply in UK hospitals.
Since the mid of March, engineers at UCL and HPP and clinicians at UCLH have been working round the clock to reverse engineer a CPAP device that can be produced rapidly by the thousands. This CPAP device was produced in under 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device, and has now been recommended for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
One hundred of these CPAP devices are to be delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, with rapid roll-out to hospitals around the country ahead of the predicted surge in COVID-19 hospital admissions.
The collaboration, supported by the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, demonstrates the way that universities, the NHS and industry are coming together to help the national response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak by providing vital technologies to the NHS to enable care for patients who require respiratory support.
UCLH critical care consultant Prof Mervyn Singer (UCL Medicine) said: “These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.”