Portable Respiratory Isolation System For Patient Isolation During COVID-19 And Other Airborne Infections

aerosol hood

To augment health care worker protection, University of Minnesota medical and engineering teams developed a portable negative pressure unit to allow for effective patient respiratory isolation, eliminating the need for a negative pressure room. Akin to a fume hood, the portable respiratory isolation unit mitigates aerosol dispersal while enabling access to patients to provide needed respiratory cares. This device also allows the reopening of elective surgeries by protecting staff in the OR.

“We found that the aerosol hood can substantially reduce aerosol dispersal while providing health care worker access,” said Hai-Thien Phu, an internal medicine and pediatrics resident. “By allowing all modes of non-invasive ventilation with minimal risk of aerosol release, we anticipate a reduction in the need for endotracheal intubation and sooner extubation to these modalities, hopefully improving clinical outcomes by reducing the risk for ventilator-induced lung injuries. In addition, we can safely perform aerosol generating procedures while protecting health care workers.”

In this study led by Phu, researchers will further develop these aerosol hoods with the goal to distribute them to Minnesota hospitals.

“Our generation 3.2 device is sleek, with improved visibility, option for disposable HEPA filters, and bed attachments,” said Phu. “There has been significant interest from other hospitals to employ our device for clinical use. By collaborating with a wide network of hospitals, we hope to achieve more feedback on development, local clinical use, and employment of the University’s respiratory isolation units across the state to protect health care workers while still delivering exceptional patient care in time for the COVID surge.”

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.