FDA updates guidance on ventilator splitting

The FDA updated guidelines on the use of ventilator tubing connectors, or ventilator splitters, based on a recent literature review in a Feb. 9 letter.

In anticipation of shortages, the agency authorized emergency use of certain ventilators and ventilator accessories for treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in March. 

Ventilator splitters should be considered a last option, the guidance said. Healthcare providers should first consider noninvasive alternatives such as high flow nasal oxygen or positive pressure ventilation. 

If invasive ventilation using an authorized splitter is the only alternative, the FDA guidance recommends the following: 

-Limit ventilation sharing to two patients. 

-Try to match patients based on similar ventilatory requirements.

-Limit sharing ventilation to 48 hours.

-Reserve at least one single-patient ventilator for emergencies. 

-Consider updated ventilator sharing protocols to minimize risk.

To read the full letter, click here.


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