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New Leak-Proof Mask for Use with Ordinary CPAP Machines Provides Ventilator Alternative for COVID-19 Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Dec 2020
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Image: A group of six third-year undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University designed the leak-proof mask that could be used with common CPAP machines to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients (Photo courtesy of Team Airtight)
Image: A group of six third-year undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University designed the leak-proof mask that could be used with common CPAP machines to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients (Photo courtesy of Team Airtight)
A new leak-proof mask design could be used with common CPAP machines as a ventilator alternative to deliver breathing relief to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

A group of six third-year undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University (JHU; Baltimore, MD, USA) has designed the leak-proof mask that could be used with common CPAP machines to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients. In order to combat the shortage of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients, the students began researching ways of adapting devices used for non-invasive breathing relief, such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) machines, which are commonly used to prevent obstructive sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties. Over the last five months, the team has designed more than 10 functional prototypes and developed unique testing protocols to verify mask efficacy. They plan to begin clinical testing at the Johns Hopkins Hospital soon.

"We knew that CPAP machines, which administer oxygen to patients through a mask over their nose and mouth, are widely available and non-invasive. The problem is that the masks often leak, so they have the potential to spread virus particles," said Varahunan Mathiyalakan, a chemical and biomolecular engineering major. "This is the challenge we needed to overcome."

"We will conduct preclinical testing of our prototype at the Johns Hopkins Simulation Center, which hosts an ICU and critical care module," said Min Jae Kim, a biomedical engineering major. "As soon as we validate our solution at the Simulation Center, we will proceed with clinical testing once our Institutional Review Board application is approved."

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