Northwell turns BiPAP machines into ventilators

New York City-based Northwell Health said it has developed a protocol to transform a BiPAP machine into a functional ventilator and that it plans to share the design online so other hospitals facing ventilator shortages can prepare. 

A bi-level positive airway pressure, or BiPAP, machine is used to maintain consistent breathing at night for people with sleep apnea, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

As hospitals across the country face the possibility of a ventilator shortage, a team at Northwell Health consisting of a physician, a respiratory therapist, and a 3D-printing bioengineer created a protocol for turning BiPAP machines into ventilators. 

The team used a 3D-printed adapter to convert a noninvasive Philips Respironics v60 BiPAP machine into a ventilator, according to Northwell Health. The health system said it still has an adequate supply of ventilators but is preparing for an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

Northwell Health said it plans to share the protocols to convert the BiPAP machine and the 3D print design online so other hospitals facing shortages can use them.

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