Two New Devices Protect Health Care Workers, Help Patients During COVID-19

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Treating patients with COVID-19 means health care workers are putting their own health and safety on the line each day. Now, two new devices could offer additional safety for health care workers, while allowing more effective treatment for patients with infections spread by respiratory droplets.

In two new proof-of-concept papers, fast-tracked and published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, researchers from the University of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) describe two devices, dubbed Aerosolve, they designed: a portable negative pressure helmet and a portable negative pressure procedural tent.

“We saw a need for devices that could protect our fellow health care workers and enable alternative treatment methods for patients with COVID-19, instead of defaulting to a ventilator,” says Kevin Ward, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine and executive director of MCIRCC.

“Both the helmet and tent create a portable negative pressure environment, potentially mitigating the need for creation of additional negative pressure rooms,” says Benjamin Bassin, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine, director of the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation Emergency Critical Care Center (EC3), and one of the team members leading the projects. “This is important because we’ve seen shortages of ventilators and negative pressure rooms in areas across the world that were hit hard by the virus.”

Negative pressure environments

Bassin explains that the helmet allows for health care workers to liberally use heated high flow nasal cannula (HFNC), a therapy of up to 60 liters of oxygen per minute to the nasal and oral cavity, non-invasive ventilation or nebulized medications. Using these treatments may spare or delay the need for a mechanical ventilator or potentially allow earlier transition of a patient from mechanical ventilation.

“The helmet design is compact and creates and maintains a personal negative pressure environment that the patient can wear during transport, imaging and testing,” Bassin says.

The portable negative pressure procedural tent circulates and removes air—including droplets exhaled by the patient—through an attached vacuum motor and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, clearing it of the virus before being released into the room.

“The tent is unique in that it allows us to access and perform a greater number of procedures the patient may need compared to the helmet,” says Nathan Haas, M.D., an instructor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine and member of the project team. “The entire apparatus is disposable and can be used with a single patient, with the exception of the manifold base which can be cleaned and reused.”

The research team says one challenge with the heated high flow nasal cannula oxygen treatment, and some other respiratory therapies, is that they may result in aerosolization, or the production of airborne particles and tiny liquid droplets of the virus, putting health care workers at a higher risk of exposure.

“Clinicians were concerned about the use of heated high flow nasal cannula and non-invasive ventilation in patients with COVID-19 due to potential risk of aerosolization, so some avoided those therapies and put patients on ventilators early,” Bassin says. “We were potentially not using an additional tool in our arsenal against the disease that could help patients because of the risks to health care workers.”

Haas says the devices are envisioned to be used for other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and influenza.

“These devices allow more liberal use of proven therapies, while potentially lowering the risk of exposure to health care workers by containing and filtering respiratory droplets and aerosols,” he says.

Expanding reach

The devices were created in a collaboration between the University of Michigan and FlexSys Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

FlexSys Inc. developed prototypes of the devices at its own cost and the first 50 tent units will be delivered to Michigan Medicine by the end of this week for use in the hospital.

"My only goal is to put as many of these devices in the hands of caregivers as quickly as possible," said Sridhar Kota, Ph.D., the Herrick Professor of Engineering at the U-M College of Engineering and founder of FlexSys Inc., who co-led the development of the devices. 

U-M and FlexSys Inc. are seeking commercial partners to supply the tents and helmets to hospitals as soon as possible, and are extending non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to companies for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope these devices allow our fellow health care workers to safely and effectively treat patients,” Ward says.

To learn more about obtaining a non-exclusive royalty-free license, contact U-M Tech Transfer.

Disclosure: FlexSys Inc. is a startup from the University of Michigan, and Sridhar Kota holds equity in the company.


Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2887
Released: 12-Aug-2020 3:50 PM EDT
MTSU, Texas State professors posit pandemic offers 'largest criminological experiment in history'
Middle Tennessee State University

In a research paper published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, Ben Stickle, an associate professor of criminal justice administration, posits that the novel coronavirus tragedy presents a unique opportunity for a “randomized control trial.” The paper is co-authored by Stickle and Marcus Felson of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Newswise:Video Embedded clearing-confusion-on-asymptomatic-spread
Released: 12-Aug-2020 3:30 PM EDT
Clearing confusion on asymptomatic spread
UW Medicine

Confusion abounds about the difference between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections when it comes to the pandemic coronavirus. Dr. John Lynch, medical director of infection prevention and control at Harborview, explains what it means.

Released: 12-Aug-2020 2:35 PM EDT
Survey Results Detail Signs of Improving Conditions for CRNAs
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) discovered in a new survey that employment opportunities for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) during the COVID-19 public health crisis is improving.

Released: 12-Aug-2020 2:05 PM EDT
Combating child weight gain during COVID-19
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

The infamous “Quarantine 15,” a reference to packing on the pounds during the pandemic, is affecting even the youngest of Americans, according to UT Physicians pediatricians, who are seeing the evidence in front of them via telemedicine appointments.

Newswise:Video Embedded jhu-robotic-system-remotely-controls-ventilators-in-covid-19-patient-rooms
Released: 12-Aug-2020 1:10 PM EDT
JHU Robotic System Remotely Controls Ventilators In COVID-19 Patient Rooms
Johns Hopkins University

A new robotic system allows medical staff to remotely operate ventilators and other bedside machines from outside intensive care rooms of patients suffering from infectious diseases.

Newswise: Sandia Science & Tech Park spurs economic growth
Released: 12-Aug-2020 1:05 PM EDT
Sandia Science & Tech Park spurs economic growth
Sandia National Laboratories

A new, independent report has concluded that the Sandia Science & Technology Park contributed significantly to the local economy in 2018-19 by adding 310 jobs and generating increases in economic activity and tax revenue to the city and New Mexico.

Newswise: Sciatica – A Common “Pain in the Nerve” for All Ages
Released: 12-Aug-2020 12:55 PM EDT
Sciatica – A Common “Pain in the Nerve” for All Ages
Hackensack Meridian Health

COVID-19 stay-at-home guidelines have created many lifestyle changes, including new home workout routines and do-it-yourself home improvement projects. Doctors warn, however, that increased activity for those not used to certain exertion levels can lead to strains and pains, including one of the most common nerve conditions, sciatica (sy-at’-ick-uh).

Released: 12-Aug-2020 12:10 PM EDT
Grant boosts psychosocial care resources during COVID-19 pandemic
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

The Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology has received a $50,000 grant from Los Angeles-based PHASE ONE Foundation to support psychosocial care for people with cancer, their families and frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newswise: When can kids return to sports after COVID-19? Doctors weigh in
Released: 12-Aug-2020 12:05 PM EDT
When can kids return to sports after COVID-19? Doctors weigh in
University of Virginia Health System

Pediatric cardiologists are offering important advice on if and when it is safe for children and teens to return to playing sports after recovering from COVID-19.

Released: 12-Aug-2020 9:15 AM EDT
Mount Sinai’s Arnhold Institute for Global Health Partners with NYC Health + Hospitals on COVID-19 Unit for Research at Elmhurst (CURE-19)
Mount Sinai Health System

Collaboration Brings Together Clinicians and Researchers on the Front Lines of COVID-19 to Support Innovative Solutions for Health Disparities

Showing results

110 of 2887