It was just a week back that Prof Akshay Dvivedi and Prof Arup Kumar Das connected with Dr Debendra Tripathi from AIIMS Rishikesh with the help of remote communication. The duo from IIT Roorkee sought assistance from Dr Tripathi as they wanted to develop a low-cost portable ventilator for patients suffering from COVID-19. And in no time, the team came up with a closed-loop ventilator, Prana-Vayu, based on controlled operation of the prime mover to deliver the required amount of air to the patient. The automated process, in this case, controlled the pressure and flow rates in inhalation and exhalation lines.
The task was challenging for the team, especially with the entire nation under lockdown. The research development necessitated the development of parts like microprocessor-controlled non-return valves, solenoid valves, one-way valve, using the facilities of the Tinkering Laboratory at IIT Roorkee. But they overcame all the hurdles as their aim was one — Save Lives.
The portable ventilator, Prana-Vayu, has feedback that can control tidal volume and breathe per minute. It will be useful for a wide degree of congestions in the respiratory tract and is applicable for all age group patients, especially the elderly. The prototype has been tested successfully for normal and patient-specific breathing conditions. Additionally, it does not require compressed air for functioning and can be useful in cases when hospital wards or open areas are converted into ICUs. Safe and reliable, it is equipped with real-time spirometry and alarms and can limit high pressure automatically with an alarm system. In case there is a failure, the circuit opens to the atmosphere with prevent choking. Additional features include remote monitoring by health professionals, touchscreen control of all operating parameters, moister and temperature control for inhaled air.
“Prana-Vayu has been designed especially for COVID-19 pandemic. It is low-cost, safe, reliable and can be quickly manufactured. We have successfully achieved the ventilatory requirement on a test lung, and it can be used for both infants and even overweight adults,” said Prof Dvivedi, coordinator, Tinkering Laboratory, IIT Roorkee, adding that the commercial product will be of around 1.5ft x 1.5ft for effective portability. The manufacturing cost per ventilator is estimated to be Rs 25,000.