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Respir Care. 2011 Jun;56(6):751-60. doi: 10.4187/respcare.00841. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

Bench tests of simple, handy ventilators for pandemics: performance, autonomy, and ergonomy.

Author information

1
Département de Médecine Familiale et Médecine d'Urgence, Université Laval, Québec, Canada. erwan.lher@chu-brest.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has been pointed out that in the wake of a virulent flu strain, patients with survivable illness will die from lack of resources unless more ventilators are made available. Numerous disaster-type ventilators are available, but few evaluations have been performed.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare simple, lightweight, and handy ventilators that could be used in the initial care of patients with respiratory distress.

METHODS:

We bench-tested 4 volume-cycled ventilators (Carevent ALS, EPV100, Pneupac VR1, and Medumat Easy) and 2 pressure-cycled ventilators (Oxylator EMX and VAR-Plus). We studied their general physical characteristics, sonometry, gas consumption, technical performance, ergonomy, and user-friendliness. With a test lung we assessed performance at F(IO(2)) of 0.50 and 1.0, set compliance of 30, 70, and 120 mL/cm H(2)O, and set resistance of 5, 10, and 20 cm H(2)O/L/s. To study user-friendliness and ergonomy we conducted, in randomized order, 7 or 8 objective, quantitative tests and 2 subjective tests.

RESULTS:

Compliance and resistance strongly affected tidal volume with the pressure-cycled ventilators (from 418 ± 49 mL to 1,377 ± 444 mL with the VAR-Plus, at the lowest pressure level), whereas the volume-cycled ventilators provided a consistent tidal volume in the face of changing test lung characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS:

We are concerned that the pressure-cycled ventilators did not provide a consistent tidal volume, and under certain conditions the volume delivered would be unsafe (too large or too small). Most of the volume-cycled ventilators proved to be technically efficient and reliable. Their reliability, portability, and ease of use could make them valuable in natural disasters and mass-casualty events.

PMID:
21333059
DOI:
10.4187/respcare.00841
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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