Non-invasive low cost ventilator from Indian railways for COVID19 Patients

With the number of coronavirus patients increasing and the hospitals having shortage of ventilators in India, the Indian railways have joined hands with the nation in fighting teh pandemic with developing a Non-invasive low cost ventilator that could help in meeting the challenges ahead.

The Golden Rock workshop (GOC) of the Southern Railways in Tiruchy  developed the ventilator. The machines are in high demand as most of the Coronavirus patients develop Acute respiratory distress syndrome. They developed the ventilator under the “Project SWAAS”.

Under SWAS, a team of engineers, doctors from railway Hospital (Perambur, Madurai and Ponmalai), AIIMS and Kottayam Medical College along with officials of the railways. The group was brought together in the virtual platform through whatsapp and virtual meetings. It was difficult to bring them physically around a table because of the corionavirus restrictions.

After much discussion, they decided in on AMBU bag by suitable mechanical system. This could be controlled electronically for getting the desired clinical parameters such as Breath per minute, Inspiration to Expiration ratio and Tidal Volume. The ventilator can be connected with an external oxygen supply for giving the needed Fraction of inspired oxygen concentration. The ventilator has multiple modes of operation along with a pendant for the patient to alert the medical professional by means of a buzzer and an emergency stop. The ventilator operates on 230 V AC along with battery backup for 24 hours.

The components used in the ventilator were made in house. The medical kits were the only procured from outside. The cost of the ventilator prototype comes to around Rs 25,000.


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