AHMEDABAD: A kidney hospital here in Gujarat has developed a multiplexer device to augment the capacity of ventilators, which are in great demand in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Designed and developed by the Ahmedabad-based Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC), the four-way multiplexer splits oxygen supply from a single- source ventilator to four patients through inspiratory limbs or pipes simultaneously.
Similarly, the expiratory limbs or pipes take back exhalation from the patient and merge into another set of multiplexer connected with the ventilator machine, IKDRC Director Dr Vineet Mishra said.
"If there is a sudden rush of coronavirus patients for ventilatory support, then the use of multiplexer increases the capacity of machines available. Using this simple device, one ventilator can be used for four patients," he said.
It is not an ideal way but a practical solution to address any future emergency, Mishra said.
Ventilators with higher capacity of tidal volume can be used to provide support to as many as eight patients from a single machine by adding extra set of multiplexers, he said.
"If not ideal, it is certainly a better ventilation support technique than the manual AMBU bag resuscitators, he said, adding that the technique has been favoured by various hospitals in the US to handle the rise in a number of COVID-19 patients.
Through this technique, the oxygenation levels and volume for all four patients could be maintained by adjusting the tidal volume level of the ventilator machine in use, without compromising on the quality of the ventilatory support offered, the official said.
In the COVID-19 infection, the virus severely breaks down the red blood cells (RBCs), which in-turn develop clots that further block alveolar (air sacs) of the lungs, a pneumonic condition, he explained.
Such patients require 24-hour ventilatory support to fight back the pneumonic condition as along as the virus intensity remains high, Mishra said.
The idea to develop a homegrown multiplexer was conceived after observing the trends and analysing the empirical data of COVID-19 patients for ventilatory support in the intensive care units (ICU) across Europe and US-based hospitals, he added.
The government-aided IKDRC is India's largest dedicated transplant and kidney cure hospital.