Laerdal medical and Servi have developed a ventilator at record speed that will double the respirator capacity of norwegian hospitals in May
Laerdal Medical and Servi AS have developed a new emergency respirator (ventilator) for the intensive treatment of COVID-19 patients. The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Edge Medical Technologies also made important contributions to the project. The product is based on Laerdal’s well-known breathing balloon. The new device can provide 100% oxygen-enriched air, has valves and alarms that protect against excessive pressure, and a valve that can be set to the desired back pressure for the end of the patient’s exhalation in order to improve lung function. An electric step motor ensures that an ‘artificial hand’ squeezes the Laerdal balloon in a way that means it delivers precisely the desired breathing volume at the right rate.
After functional tests of the product were assessed and it was recommended by clinical experts at Stavanger University Hospital and Oslo University Hospital as well as by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Medical Services, Prime Minister Erna Solberg was able to announce at a press conference held on 31 March that the Norwegian health authorities had placed an order for 1,000 of these devices for rapid delivery by 1 June. This will double the number of respirators in Norwegian hospitals.
The device has been designed for safe use which means that additional categories of health personnel can be trained easily in its use in case there is a need for them to assist current personnel in hospitals’ intensive care units if they need extra help with respirator treatment. Laerdal is also working with the SAFER simulation centre to develop a special training program.
The new respirator is simpler to construct and cheaper to procure than more traditional devices. Every effort is now being made to manufacture the first thousand devices within just a few weeks. By investing in a more cost-efficient production system, Laerdal and Servi are seeking to be able to make the devices even cheaper to procure in the future, in the hope that they may be of real benefit for treating the as-yet unknown extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in medium and low-income countries.