Published: 30th March 2020
IIT-H calls for adopting alternatives to ventilators like 'bag valve masks' to meet high demand
The Professors note that while 'bag valve mask' are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator, it would be easy to design a similar device
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad Director Prof B S Murty on Monday called upon on the Government of India to consider adopting 'bag valve mask' as an alternative to meet any surge in demand for ventilators, both in India and other countries, to treat COVID-19 patients.
While the conventional ventilators are expensive, hard to produce, and not portable, Prof Murty and Prof V Eswaran, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, highlight that 'bag valve masks' are small devices, which are used to deliver breathing support in emergencies that are inexpensive, easy to produce, and portable - which therefore have every quality that is required in this crisis, a IIT-H statement here said.
They are most common of these devices is the bag valve mask, often called by the propriety name of 'Ambu Bag,' that is used for resuscitation in emergencies. The COVID-19 virus has varied effect on the people it infects. Some barely show symptoms, while they still pass on the virus to others who may be more seriously affected. Of the 15 per cent of COVID-19 affected patients who may need hospitalisation, around one-third, (5 per cent) would likely develop respiratory difficulties for which ventilators for assisted breathing will become necessary.
The Professors note that while 'bag valve mask' are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator, it would be easy to design a similar device powered by an electrical source, which could be a car battery, apart from the conventional power supply. It could be made portable, and therefore adopted in villages and other areas without a power supply and be inexpensive enough to manufacture in bulk.