The SG-Inspire ventilator is designed to be user-friendly even in resource-limited settings, and can be assembled with short production lead time, at a cost about five times less than that of conventional ventilators.
Respiratory failure is one of the most severe complications of COVID-19 and ventilators are important to support the breathing needs of affected patients.
Prompted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and ventilator shortages in some hard-hit countries, clinician scientist Associate Professor Derrick Chan from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), has led a Singapore team to develop a ventilator prototype for COVID-19 patients requiring breathing support.
Designed to be user-friendly even in resource-limited settings, the SG-Inspire (SinGapore Invasive/non-invasive support for effective respiration) ventilator can be assembled using readily available components with short production lead time. It can be scaled up and mass produced swiftly as and when needed, at a cost that is about five times less than that of conventional ventilators.
“The global pandemic has highlighted the challenges of securing ventilator supply and the need for trained healthcare professionals to manage the large volume of patients on ventilators,” explains Assoc Prof Chan, who is also Director, KK Research Centre, KKH, and Deputy Director, SingHealth Medical Technology Office (MTO).
“The key features of SG-Inspire are crucial in supplementing the supply of conventional ventilators in Singapore should the need arise. It can also serve as a resource for regions that are less equipped to handle the pandemic.”
Unlike conventional ventilators, SG-Inspire features:
- A user-friendly interface, with in-built sensors and control software to provide assisted breathing support triggered by each patient’s medical needs.
- Use of ambient air, with the option of adding low-pressure instead of high-pressure medical gas in the event of limited supply.
- Remote operation capability, reducing the need for healthcare professionals to enter the patient’s room and mitigating risks of viral transmission. One healthcare professional can also monitor and control multiple ventilators.
It also facilitates both invasive and non-invasive ventilation methods, delivering breathing support using intubation or a mask respectively.
“Designing and custom-building SG-Inspire required the collective ingenuity and expertise of hospital specialists in adult and paediatric intensive care and respiratory medicine, engineers from SingHealth MTO and support from industry collaborators,” shares Assoc Prof Chan. “Its development is a testament to the innovative solutions that can result when people unite across disciplines to meet a common human need.”
Since its development, SG-Inspire has undergone rigorous tests in accordance with applicable ISO standards to validate its performance, and will undergo further tests in SingHealth institutions, starting with KKH and National Heart Centre Singapore, before being made available for clinical use.