Develop and test a 3d printed ventilator manifold and a low cost ventilator that would meet the current guidelines in a surge crisis

3d printed ventilator manifold

The current epidemiological data regarding COVID-19 verifies that the number of critically ill patients with respiratory failure will outnumber the availability of mechanical ventilators to support them. Therefore, innovation to increase the number of ventilators per person is imperative to meet this demand. Two methods to achieve this is ventilating multiple patients with a single ventilator or have a basic ventilator configuration that could be easily scalable, meet safety guidelines and public demand. 

In this study led by Roy J. Cho, MD, MHA, assistant professor of medicine, researchers will design and develop a ventilator manifold to support at least two patients and a basic ventilator schematic that could meet safety requirements and support patients with confidence. 

Recent statements from Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Association for Respiratory Care, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, American College of Chest Physicians and American Association of Critical Care Nurses has recommended against DIY ventilators and multi-patient (>4+) ventilation with a single ventilator due to potential additional harm to the patient in the face of a surge crisis and pandemic.

"There are experimental models that have shown that a single ventilator could be modified to ventilate multiple adults for a limited time. Our device will be designed for a single ventilator to support two patients, which has not been recommended against by national organizations, using a 3D printable manifold," said Cho. "We will perform lung mechanic testing in addition to biohazard testing which has been the criticism for its use. If successfully tested, the 3D design will be available as open source data." 

The team's second objective is to develop, design and prototype a basic ventilator that could meet the needs of critically ill patients that are stably supported on a ventilator for respiratory failure. 

"We believe that targeting this stage of respiratory failure could help reallocate modern critical care ventilators to those that are acutely ill. The device will meet the basic needs of patients with respiratory failure, provide real-time assessment of delivered gas and safety data to prevent iatrogenic harm to the patient. If successfully tested, the schematics will be available as open source data," said Cho.

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.