Development of a Low-Cost, Bubble CPAP Kit and Oxygen Blender

Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
Organization Location: 
Seattle, WA USA

Each year worldwide, millions of preterm infants (born before 37 weeks gestation) are born, many with lung immaturity that leads to respiratory distress syndrome, a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In the developed world, infants such as these are supported with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, obviating the need for mechanical ventilation, which requires placement of a tube in the trachea that can cause lasting damage to the airways. Despite their relative simplicity, the potential for CPAP devices to save lives in resource-limited settings remains largely untapped; they are unnecessarily expensive, quality parts are difficult to procure, and devices require a reliable supply of air, oxygen, and electricity. Dr. Ashish Jain, of Hindu Rau Hospital in Delhi, India, has developed an improvised bubble CPAP device that relies solely on an oxygen source, water, and parts commonly found in neonatal intensive care units across India. Our proposal aims to further enhance this device by combining it with an innovative oxygen blender that requires neither electricity nor a pressurized source of air and is intended to reduce the hazard associated with providing infants 100 percent oxygen. In addition, Dr. Jain’s improvised bubble CPAP device will be tested for compatibility with parts commonly available in India and we will develop procurement and assembly instructions for a bubble CPAP “kit.” Finally, a evaluation of human factors will be conducted in India to ensure that the kit, oxygen blender, and instructions meet the needs of health care providers and their infant patients.

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