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Innovative Resuscitation Device Helps Reduce Neonatal Mortality

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Oct 2018
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Image: A ventilation bag add-on device helps resuscitate asphyxiated newborn babies (Photo courtesy of Philips Healthcare).
Image: A ventilation bag add-on device helps resuscitate asphyxiated newborn babies (Photo courtesy of Philips Healthcare).
An add-on device for conventional neonatal bag-valve-mask (BVM) resuscitators can help caregivers resuscitate asphyxiated newborn babies.

Developed by Royal Philips (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech; Boston, MA, USA), the augmented infant resuscitator (AIR) is designed to monitor aeration quality by measuring ventilation flow and pressure, providing intuitive visual feedback on common ventilation errors, such as inadequate face-mask seal, an obstructed airway, incorrect ventilation rate, and harsh ventilation that can damage the baby's airways. The device also records performance for future feedback, improving the training of healthcare professionals by identifying persistent gaps in technique.

The AIR device is the brainchild of Kristian Olson, MD, director of CAMTech, Data Santorino, MD, CAMTech Uganda country manager, and Kevin Cedrone, PhD, a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA, USA), who created the AIR device prototype in 2012 at a joint CAMTech/ MIT Hack-a-thon at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, Boston, USA). In late 2016, the AIR team completed a multi-center randomized trial of 270 birth attendants in both Uganda and the US, details of which will be presented in a future publication.

“At Philips, we aim to improve people's health through meaningful innovations. Our mission is to improve the lives of three billion people a year by 2025,” said Arman Voskerchyan, business leader for therapeutic care at Philips. “By combining our expertise in respiratory care and resuscitation with the strengths of global health innovators like the AIR team at CAMTech, we aim to drive and scale innovative solutions that bridge societal divides in healthcare to reach underserved populations, addressing the United Nations sustainable development goal.”

Birth asphyxia is caused by prolonged deprivation of oxygen to a newborn during the birth process, resulting in damage to vital organs, usually the baby's brain. Globally, birth asphyxia causes more than 800,000 neonatal deaths annually, and over one million potentially preventable reported stillbirths. Effective resuscitation can reduce birth asphyxia related neonatal deaths by 30% and deaths from prematurity by 10%. But one-in-five trained healthcare professionals fail to perform the resuscitation technique correctly, and those that do often experience a rapid decline in proficiency.

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