MIT engineers propose a safer method for sharing ventilators

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 17:00 in Health & Medicine

As more Covid-19 patients experience acute respiratory distress, there has been much debate over the idea of sharing ventilators, which involves splitting air tubes into multiple branches so that two or more patients can be connected to the same machine. Several physicians’ associations have issued a joint statement discouraging this practice. It poses risk to patients, they say, because of the difficulty in ensuring that each patient is receiving the right amount of air. A team of researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has now come up with a new approach to splitting ventilators, which they believe could address many of these safety concerns. They have demonstrated its effectiveness in laboratory tests, but they still caution it should be used only as a last resort during an emergency, when a patient’s life is at stake. “We hope this approach, which requires off-the-shelf components, can ultimately help patients in extreme need of...

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