A low-cost, effective Differential Multi-Ventilation system for use against COVID-19

Lee, Jihyun | $50,000

Alberta The University of Calgary 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

Ventilator shortages within Canada’s healthcare system have become a problem of immediate concern during the COVID‑19 pandemic. One solution for the emerging need for additional ventilator capacity is to share a ventilator between multiple patients, called multi-ventilation. This strategy has been used in New York and has received crisis approval by Health and Human Services and the Federal Drug Administration. However, the multi-ventilation system has been restricted for use in major medical organizations due to potential safety risks such as trigger issues between the patients sharing a ventilator.

This research project proposes a state-of-art system that enables us to overcome possible safety risks to expand ventilator capacity. A low-cost and effective Differential Multi-Ventilation (DMV) system allows us to permit individualized settings for patients sharing a ventilator by utilizing flow restrictors, sensors, and a controller that allows adjustment and monitoring of inspiratory and expiratory parameters. The DMV system, which consists of 3D-printed adjustable Positive End-Expiratory Pressure (PEEP) valves, can be a cost-saving, configuration-flexible, multi-dimensional alternative. Combining adjustable PEEP valves with sensors, bypass circuits, and a controller will allow us to increase ventilator capacity, reduce the production cost, and provide improved quality patient care compared to the traditional system.

The proposed objectives of this research are to understand the system’s fluid dynamics and to improve upon the ventilations’ current structural challenges. This project’s novelties lie in the analysis of the DMV’s design parameters, optimization using a genetic algorithm, the application of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors, a pre-compensation algorithm, and the physical model. This proposal’s outcome also provides a configuration guideline, a monitoring and control module, and DMV dynamic simulation software.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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