As the pandemic swept across the nation in March, so did urgent questions about the virus’ potential strain on the healthcare system.
Among top concerns: whether the nation’s hospitals had enough ventilators to provide breathing support to critically ill patients with the disease COVID-19, which mainly attacks the lungs.
As experts predicted a surge in coronavirus cases and a possible shortage in intensive care unit equipment, University of Michigan teams immediately got to work on a solution. The mission: to quickly develop an efficient, affordable and more controlled way to expand ventilator capacity.
Now, just weeks later, U-M and Michigan Medicine researchers have invented an individualized vent-splitter that may allow multiple patients to receive customized pressures while sharing a single ventilator. U-M has filed for patent protection on the technology, and a local start-up, MakeMedical LLC, has licensed the technology and developed it into the VentMI device.