Minnesota Researchers Develop First-of-its-kind Low-Cost Ventilator

The University of Minnesota researchers have developed a simple, low-cost medical ventilator device known as the ‘Coventor’.

This ventilator is the first-of-its-kind to mechanically inflate the lungs of patients suffering significant breathing problems for COVID-19.

The device is compact – tabletop/desktop size and is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and distribute.This mechanical ventilator is straightforward to use for ICU-trained medical providers. This device does not require pressurised oxygen or air supply, unlike commercially available mechanical ventilators.

The proposed system consists of a frame and mechanical actuator which will stabilize and compress a commercially available ambulatory ventilation bag connected to the patient’s catheter and external compressed oxygen, or if oxygen isn’t available, ambient air.

The frame can be metal-stamped, 3D-printed, or modified consumer goods.

Coventor is going to be utilised in those clinical settings where traditional ventilators are not available and help patients with increasing their blood oxygen levels. They have become a significant treatment device for COVID-19 and were earlier used to support patients with pneumonia and acute respiratory distress. As hospitals respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ventilators are in short supply nationwide.

The team of researchers adapted their initial prototype from an assortment of available machinery components to a custom slider-crank mechanism thatpermits medical staff to control how oxygen is delivered to patients.

This device represents a rapidly scalable opportunity for healthcare providers to provide life-sustaining mechanical ventilation to patients for whom no other option currently exists.