Due to a shortage of ventilators, groups have begun to modify available breathing machines, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to treat Covid-19 patients. CPAP machines, used to treat sleep apnea, are relatively plentiful. Their conversion provides real-world examples of how individuals, private groups, hospital administrators, public health officials are pitching in to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
PPE shortage has led to additional innovation including the use of vaporized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize N95 masks and other PPEs.
CPAP to PCV Ventilator
The AES Controls, Inc CPAP/BiPAP-to-PCV Ventilator conversion kit was designed specifically to help address the dire ventilator shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary mechanisms of death in the COVID-19 Pandemic will likely be due to:
- Lack of respiratory support (ventilators, respiratory therapists) to combat the influx of ARDS patients to the ICU
- Lack of PPE contributing to dwindling personnel
Our CPAP/BiPAP-to-PCV Ventilator conversion kit was designed to address these shortages. There is a massive supply and supply chain for CPAP machines prescribed for Sleep Apnea. These CPAP machines cannot function as PCV ventilators in their stock form. But they do have the necessary electromechanical components to function as such - and are already FDA approved medical devices. Our conversion kit utilizes the electromechanical components of the existing CPAP machines, and adds in a closed-loop pressure regulating control system, combined with a therapist-programmable interface to control ventilator mode (control or support mode), peak pressure, PEEP, Breathing rate (b/min), and Inspiratory/Expiratory ratio (I:E). This converts the device into a basic PCV Ventilator capable of supporting 30+ cmH2O of pressure, and a programmable PEEP with a high settable limit - with the understanding that ARDS patients need substantial PEEP to maintain alveoli recruitment and to prevent pneumothorax.
These units can be converted to be used as an Invasive and Non-Invasive PCV Ventilators. A chief concern with such a conversion - especially in the case of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) - is the spread of aerosol or droplets from the openloop circuits present in these CPAP machines. We have designed an anti-aerosolization system that utilizes existing standard parts, including exhaust ports and ViroBac II N95-grade inline filters. This ensures that absolutely minimal droplets escape the closed-loop system, even in NIV cases.
This converted system will provide the following high-level functionality:
- Anti-aerosolization containment/filtration measures of expired breath
- Peak Pressure Control (peak pressure limits subject to CPAP hardware capabilities, but in our testing is capable of peak pressures in the ~35cmH2O range)
- PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) Control
- Patient-assisted breathing control mode w/ backup rate enforcement
- Full autonomous breathing control
- Configurable visual/audio alarming, with potential integration into external information systems
This AES Controls, Inc design was established to address this need in HIGH VOLUME. Using a small BOM of very easily obtainable parts (and parts that do not overlap with the existing invasive ventilator (IV) supply chain), virtually any existing supply of CPAP machines can be converted for immediate use as a basic PCV Ventilator.
This conversion kit has been evaluated and design criteria established by the medical community for greatest impact against the hospital ventilation shortage. AES is currently manufacturing these conversion kits and shipping directly to the medical centers in greatest need.