A group of South African doctors, engineers and designers based in East London has invented and developed a medical device that revolutionises oxygen delivery to COVID-19 patients. A specialist medical device manufacturer of long standing will now produce and distribute the clinically- and cost-effective, easy-to-use device, which has the potential to boost the scale and efficacy of COVID-19 oxygen care at clinics and hospitals.
This South African invention, named OxERA (Oxygen-Efficient Respiratory Aid), could be a game changer where there are a large number of COVID-19 patients yet a lack of skilled staff, ICU and high care facilities; and insufficient bulk oxygen supplies. It effectively bridges the gap between current standard oxygen therapy via face masks and ICU-based non-invasive or mechanical ventilation, while requiring no more oxygen flow than a standard face mask.
The OxERA device is an all-in-one device using an oxygen accumulator bag, anaesthetic mask and an adjustable mechanical PEEP valve that is simple, cost effective and oxygen efficient. Tests have shown that not only can consistently high levels of oxygen be delivered with the critical benefit of PEEP, but less oxygen is usually needed as supply can be titrated to patient demand rather than having to be left fully open. The high oxygen level ensures that maximum oxygen content is available to the diseased lungs and the PEEP prevents lungs collapsing during expiration, reducing the amount of work it takes to breathe. In our oxygen resource constrained environment, this is a game changer and allows even the most basic facilities that are dependent on bottled oxygen or small oxygen concentrators to provide a higher level of clinical care than they are currently able to. It also means that the device is suitable for use in transferring patients in ambulances where other options are limited. Read the full story in the January edition of EngineerIT, available later next week.