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UCLH receive 100 ‘breakthrough’ breathing devices that reduces need for ventilators

Breathing aid already in widespread use in Italy and China

30 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Experts say ‘breakthrough’ will ‘save lives’

CLINICIANS at University College Hospital and engineers at University College London have designed a new breathing aid that has been approved for NHS use.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device helps coronavirus patients with serious lung infections breathe more easily without the need for oxygen ventilators that are in short supply.

It has been used “extensively in hospitals in Italy and China” where they are credited with allowing 50 per cent of coronavirus patients to be treated without mechanical ventilation. One hundred were delivered to the Euston Road hospital today (Monday) ahead of mass roll-out across the country. 

UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said: “These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.

 “While they will be tested at UCLH first, we hope they will make a real difference to hospitals across the UK by reducing demand on intensive care staff and beds, as well as helping patients recover without the need for more invasive ventilation.”

The ‘Continuous Positive Airway Pressure’ device 

The UK Formula 1 motor-racing industry has been involved in the manufacture, using technology normally designed for building the fastest cars on the planet to manufacture of medical devices.

“F1’s ability to respond rapidly to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response,” a statement said.

UCL Vice Provost Health Professor David Lomas added: “This breakthrough has the potential to save many lives and allow our frontline NHS staff to keep patients off ventilators.”

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