DOI: 11, 2021Proceedings Paper

A Pneumatic Compression Vest for Transthoracic Manipulation of Ventilation-Perfusion in Critical Care Patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Caused by COVID-19

Donald J. WardMaxwell Weinmann


Critical Care patients who experience symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) are commonly placed on mechanical ventilators to increase the oxygen being supplied to their pulmonary system. If patients’ pulmonary inflammation is severe, they can experience ventilation-perfusion mismatch (V/Q mismatch) where blood flow and gas exchange are mismatched such that oxygen uptake is greatly impaired. In these cases, patients are typically rotated into a prone position to facilitate improved blood flow to segments of the lung that were not previously participating in the gas exchange process. However, proning a patient has a significant risk of complications. The low-cost vest presented in this work is designed to be used as a surrogate to patient proning while also requiring less hospital staff to operate than the proning process. The vest was preliminarily tested on 6 patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who experienced ARDS and presumptive V/Q mismatch. The results from this preliminary testing show that 5 out of 6 patients showed a significant increase in ventilation-perfusion similar to the effects of proning.

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