Virginia Tech and Carilion develop breathing support device

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 11:37 PM EDT
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Virginia Tech researchers are giving us a little more insight on how their makeshift ventilators work.

The school partnered up with doctors at Carilion to make a few upgrades to a BiPAP machine, typically used for sleep apnea, to have it work as a ventilator should the hospital run out.

Students are using 3-D printers to make some of these parts to help prevent the virus from being released into the air from the machine and to measure a patient’s breathing.

“If we get that spike at Carilion, I feel really comfortable that we’re going to have enough machines,” Dr. Edmundo Rubio, Carilion Clinic’s Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Rubio said he doesn’t anticipate a spike they can’t handle, but is glad to have this device as an alternative.

“I don’t think we have the need right now to mass produce these, but we’re going to continue to design new development and our plan is to publish it on the National Institute of Health’s website, because there might be other regions of the country that would like to use this device,” said Dr. Joseph Meadows, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

Meadows is overseeing the technology upgrades and developments in Blacksburg. He is especially proud of his students for everything they have done on this project.

“Regardless of if this is ever used in a patient, this is very good experience for them, it’s a challenging project and it gives them a chance to try and help out with the pandemic,” he said.

Meadows partnered up with Al Wicks at the university to get their students involved in the project.

They include:

Cody Dowd

Ashwin Kumar

Yogesh Aradhey

Jonathan Guevarez

Cole Berger

Forest Terwilliger

Austin Guevara

Brent Bailey

Rohan Walia

Bhavi Bharat Kotha

Timothy Pierce

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