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Unique Low-Cost, Non-Electric Ventilator Could Help Hospitals Treat COVID-19 Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 05 Mar 2021
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Image: ShiVent system (Photo courtesy of RAEng/HollisPhotographyUK)
Image: ShiVent system (Photo courtesy of RAEng/HollisPhotographyUK)
A new low-cost ventilator which does not require electricity could help hospitals treat COVID patients.

A team of engineers from Loughborough University (Loughborough, UK) has designed and built the unique low-cost, non-electric ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ShiVent system was created to allow non-specialized workers to treat patients with coronavirus.

The system works by connecting hospital patients to an existing oxygen source and blends air with the high-flow oxygen supply. The patient inhales oxygen to fill up the lungs and then exhales into a water column creating back end pressure that keeps their airway open. It is based on the principles of bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) - a non-invasive ventilator used for new-born babies.

Simple to use by the average health workers, the ShiVent system takes only 30 minutes of training and can be produced at a very small fraction of the price of the average ventilator. Its non-electric operation makes it suitable for hospital settings with unreliable power. The ShiVent system is also oxygen-efficient as it requires almost as little as a third of the average oxygen consumption of high flow oxygen systems.

“ShiVent is designed for under-resourced areas where mechanical ventilators are scarce and expensive, with unreliable electricity supply and limited specialist knowledge,” said Yusuf Bilesanmi, a PhD student of Architecture Building and Civil Engineering, who is the founder and team leader. “The ShiVent is a simple, low-cost ventilatory alternative which does not depend on electricity and is widely replicable.”

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