April 14, 2020

Australian researchers test lung ventilation of two patients with one ventilator

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In this experimental study from Australia, researchers investigate the effect of ventilator splitting on system variables (ie, inspiratory pressure, flow, and volume) and the possibility of different ventilation targets for each limb.

Connecting two patients to the same ventilator presents many challenges:


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  • ventilation requirements are different for different people (ie, 100 kg male and 50 kg female)
  • cross-infection from inter-patient gas exchange
  • oxygen concentration
  • lack of monitoring for individual tidal volume, flow, and inspiratory pressure.

To counter these challenges, the researchers connected a flow restrictor apparatus, which consists of a Hoffman clamp and tracheal tube, to the inspiratory limb of the ventilator.

The breathing circuit ran from the humidifier to a Y-connector splitter. From the splitter, two limbs were created, simulating the ventilation of two pairs of patient lungs.

Though ventilator splitting is not condoned by the researchers, they say their study demonstrates the capacity to simultaneously ventilate two test lungs, using only standard hospital equipment.

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