Overview: The lungs are a key avenue of attack for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Respiratory problems are primary symptoms of COVID-19, the resulting disease, both for “mild” cases and for cases that lead to hospitalization and potentially death. A consequence of the unfolding pandemic has thus been shortages in the supply of mechanical ventilators and associated components used to manage extreme cases of respiratory failure. We have developed an inexpensive respiratory flowmeter system that is based on readily available commercial components. The system is designed for use in conjunction with non-invasive ventilator systems, such as the COVID-19 Helmet developed by Sea-Long Medical Systems, LLC (link is external), but is modular and can be used in other systems. The system comprises one or more flow and pressure sensors and a central station that can be used to remotely monitor up to 20 patients. The system reports flow, pressure and clinically relevant metrics including respiratory rate, tidal volume, Peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and the ratio of inspiratory time to expiratory time (I:E).
MedRxiv preprint article: "Inexpensive multi-patient respiratory monitoring system for helmet ventilation during COVID-19 pandemic"
Abstract: Helmet non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is a form of continuous positive applied pressure that has emerged as a useful therapy for COVID-19 patients who require respiratory support but may not require invasive ventilation. Helmet NIV has seen an increase inuse during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is low-cost, readily available, and provides viral filters between the patient and clinician. Helmet NIV may also provide better patient outcomes by delaying or eliminating the need for invasive ventilation. Its widespread adoption has been limited, however, by the lack of a respiratory monitoring system that is needed to address known safety vulnerabilities and to provide clinicians with a respiratory profile of the patient. To address this safety need, we have developed an inexpensive respiratory monitoring system that is based on readily available commercial components and is suitable for rapid local manufacture. The system is designed for use in conjunction with the COVID-19 Helmet developed by Sea-LongMedical Systems , but is modular and can be used with other ventilation systems.The monitoring system comprises one or more flow and pressure sensors and a central remote station that can be used to remotely monitor up to 20 patients simultaneously.The system reports flow, pressure, and clinically relevant metrics including respiratory rate, tidal volume equivalent, peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and the ratio of inspiratory time to expiratory time (I:E). The device will sound alarms based on clinician-set thresholds. In bench tests using a commercial ventilator and artificial lung system, our device performs comparably to a commercial single-patient respiratory monitor. Results are presented from human-subject tests on a healthy volunteer undergoing helmet non-invasive ventilation. Detailed design and manufacturing documents are provided.