UChicago Medicine uses helmet-based ventilators for COVID-19 patients

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

UChicago Medicine is using a helmet-based ventilation device to treat some COVID-19 patients instead of traditional ventilators, reports ABC 7 Chicago.

The FDA-approved helmets function similarly to a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, pumping high-pressure oxygen into patients' lungs. The helmet hooks up directly to hospitals' oxygen supply. It's made of clear plastic, features an airtight collar to prevent leaks and has a filter to protect against the novel coronavirus. 

John Kress, MD, and Bhakti Patel, MD, both pulmonologists at UChicago Medicine, have spent several years studying the device. They say patients who use the helmet spend less time in intensive care and demonstrate better survival rates. The helmets also allow patients to move around more freely and rest easier, they said.

UChicago Medicine has used the helmets on five patients to prevent the need for intubation or use of a ventilator. The health system is training staff on how to use the helmets in case they run out of ventilators amid an influx of COVID-19 patients.

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