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OperationAIR is happy to announce that their design of an Open-Source emergency-ventilator is now available for use in other countries. OperationAIR is a non-profit student team from TU Delft University of Technology led by Prof. dr. ir. Jaap Harlaar.
The emergency-ventilator can offer respiratory support, specifically suitable for COVID-19 patients. The design of the AIRone ventilator has been evaluated and pre-clinical tested by medical specialists.
Beginning of March, the first signs showed a major lack in availability of ventilators.
Luuk Altenburg: “Many people said: Someone needs to do something! But when push comes to shove, if you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself."
The need for a rapid manufacturable open source ventilator - for temporary use - was defined. Before making any design, the team started with gathering information from medical experts and medical user groups. From this resource the core requirements were derived that are typically necessary and important to treat COVID-19 patients. Soon it became clear that for respiratory support an electrically actuated air pump – like an in/out type of approach, what a ventilator basically is - would not be enough.
Lucas Ottenheym: “The information shared by Bronkhorst coming from other open source projects, with the knowledge about mass flow control, really helped our team to make important design decisions.”
The lungs of COVID-19 patients do not function well. The decreased lung tissue must be treated in such a way that optimal oxygen intake is secured. Therefore, the first requirement is to have a system that carefully and accurately controls the Air-Oxygen ratio. For this type of patients, oxygen concentration is often around 40-50% and even needs to go up to 80-100% in some cases. To control the Air and Oxygen flow, Bronkhorst EL-FLOW Base mass flow controllers are being used.
In addition, during the respiratory cycle, the airway pressure is controlled. This ventilates the lungs and positive pressure during expiration prevents collapsing of the lungs and its vesicles. The clinical situation of patients is extremely dynamic; so, every system parameter needs to be changed during the day by the medical specialists.
Within two months, the AIRone prototype has been realised and tested by medical specialists and can be used as an emergency ventilator. It has the required features but is limited compared to standard available ventilators.
Joep Eijkenduijn: “As we did not have multiple years for development, only the most important parameters could be included.”
The functional range of the AIRone aims merely on the critical phase of the syndrome caused by COVID-19. The system is pre-tested and evaluated by specialists from hospitals and the Dutch government.
The OperationAIR team is confident that this system can save lives, once local authorities decide that the system fulfills national requirements for temporary use. Therefore, the open source design is available now for all parties worldwide.
Joep Eijkenduijn: “OperationAIR is available to help other countries who want to use of our design.”
Special thanks to OperationAIR group members Joep Eijkenduijn, Jim Smit, Lucas Ottenheym and Luuk Altenburg for sharing their interesting story.