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Splitter Tubing Adapter Quadruples Ventilator Capacity

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 06 Apr 2020
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Image: The VESper Y splitter ventilator attachment (Photo courtesy of Prisma Health)
Image: The VESper Y splitter ventilator attachment (Photo courtesy of Prisma Health)
A prototype ventilator expansion device allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients during times of acute equipment shortages, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prisma Health (Greenville, SC, USA) VESper device is a Y splitter tubing that is produced via 3D printing technology, using strong, impact resistant materials that are already in use for other medical devices. The splitter also allows for simultaneous filtering of bacteria and viruses in the ventilator tubing itself, and does not impact the care of other patients connected to the same machine. Prisma Health experts are working with U.S. COVID-19 teams who have no more ventilator capacity, and who can initiate emergency use of the prototype.

VESper has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Silver Spring, MD, USA) emergency use authorization, a designation that offers critical care patients access to a medical device that has not gone through normal FDA approval. The FDA emergency use authorization is emitted only when no comparable or satisfactory alternative option is available. Hospitals can receive the free source code and printing specifications for the device by registering on the Prisma Health website.

“When we see rapid increases in patients who require machine-assisted breathing, an acute shortage of necessary equipment can happen overnight,” said Peter Tilkemeier, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Prisma Health Upstate. “The VESper device can be lifesaving when the number of critically ill patients requiring breathing support is greater than the number of available ventilators. A number of U.S. hospitals are likely to begin experiencing this with COVID-19.”

“This is an exemplary demonstration of rapid innovation and collaboration,” said Mark O'Halla, CEO and president of Prisma Health. “I am so proud of the creativity and perseverance of our clinical team who came together to develop a potentially life-saving solution at a critical time for our country, our communities and our patients. We are anxiously awaiting the results of the prototype field tests.”

Prisma Health is collaborating with other major companies such as HP (Palo Alto, CA, USA) and its Digital Manufacturing Network (DMN) to quickly scale 3D production of validated parts for distribution in areas of greatest need and in areas with the potential to exceed their ventilator capacity in the near future.

Related Links:
Prisma Health
US Food and Drug Administration 

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