Modification of full-face snorkelling masks to be used as ventilators, by adding special 3D printed mask extensions.
Problem: The rapid spread of Covid-19 has disrupted health centres around the planet by increased demand for systems that help critical patients’ oxygen supply - ventilators. In addition to being relatively expensive, hospital ventilators were also difficult to obtain on the market at this time. What is more, replacement parts for existing ventilators were very hard to acquire. For this reason, non-commercial solutions have emerged, which can be applied in hospital conditions. Currently there is no serial production for this type of solutions, nor are they available for sale.
Solution: In the absence of ventilators and in order to reduce the costs, the solution is modification of commercial snorkelling masks that cover the entire face, with the help of a 3D printed extensions that is attached to the mask instead of a standard factory blower. Such masks could be used as: 1 – Substitute for ventilators, by directly connecting it to a source of oxygen in hospitals; 2 – A replacement part for existing ventilators, so-called balloon; 3 – Protection for medical staff. The 3D printing method is used as the anticipated amount of mask extensions does not justify mass production at this time. Also, by using 3D printing and rapid prototyping methods, fine tuning of the extension is possible along the way. The extension can be printed in environmentally friendly non-toxic PLA biodegradable plastic and disinfected with ethanol, while the mask itself can be sterilized by autoclave process or disinfected with ethanol or a mix of water and bleach. The proposed system is significantly cheaper than existing medical devices, it is easier to procure the necessary parts and it can be available in a very short time for a large number of patients and medical professionals. The project envisages modifying 1.000 snorkelling masks to be used in hospital settings.
Additional info: The applicant has already invested its own resources for creating a pilot prototype and conducted a pilot study at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade (VMA) where the solution was tested and verified. After a successful pilot study, the National Health Insurance Fund of the Republic of Serbia earmarked certain financial resources for buying the first series of masks so that the implementation of the project can begin as soon as possible. Certification with the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia would be necessary. The solution could potentially be useful in combating possible future respiratory pandemics.