ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8 Mass casualty incidents --such as terrorist attacks, pandemic flu outbreaks or natural calamities likeearthquakes or hurricanes -- raise the life-and-death reality that existingmedical equipment is not adequate to provide treatment for all who need it.One of the most critical gaps is the lack of ventilators for people requiringrespiratory support.
Disaster specialists and health care professionals know that mass casualtyevents could mean that:
-- skilled hospital personnel would be overwhelmed by the number ofpatients requiring mechanical ventilation;
-- mechanical ventilation for people with respiratory failure might haveto be provided outside acute care hospitals, including in the field withcaregivers, patients and care equipment exposed to the elements;
-- electrical power may not be available, possibly for several days oreven longer.
A company in Missouri -- Allied Healthcare Products, Inc. -- has addressedthese tough requirements by developing the first ventilator designed frominception to meet the unique demands of mass casualty incidents.
"Hospital ventilators are highly effective in the hands of skilledrespiratory therapists. However, they also are very expensive, immobile,fragile and depend on a functioning power grid," said Earl Refsland, chiefexecutive officer of Allied Healthcare. "In the event of a mass casualtyevent, we simply can not depend on hospital ventilators alone. That's whyAllied decided to work on this solution."
With input from the medical community, disaster specialists and firstresponders, Allied designed the Mass Casualty Ventilator (MCV)100, alife-support device that is small, light weight, rugged, low-cost, easy tomaintain and, importantly, easy to operate by non-specialists after simpleinstruction. The MCV100 recently received approval from the U.S. Food andDrug Administration (FDA).
"The MCV100 is a 'force multiplier' for disasters," said Kevin Kroupa,vice president of engineering at Allied. "It will mean that volunteers candeliver life-saving ventilation to large numbers of people, allowing healthcare professionals to use their skills to greatest advantage."
The 14-pound MCV100 costs from $2835 to $3532, depending on functionality,versus about $30,000 for the typical hospital ventilator that weighs about 100pounds and is tethered to fixed connections that make it immobile and,therefore, unavailable for use outside a hospital.
Also unlike a hospital ventilator, Allied's MCV100 can be powered by itsinternal rechargeable battery or ordinary electric power. The battery runsthe ventilator for 21 hours if compressed oxygen is used. If compressedoxygen is not available, the battery will power the unit for seven hours.Auxiliary battery packs will be made available that will deliver 42 hours ofrun time when operated with compressed oxygen and 14 hours without compressedoxygen. Batteries recharge in five and 10 hours, respectively, for theinternal battery and auxiliary pack.
"Allied will introduce another MCV ventilator in about two months that canrun exclusively on compressed oxygen or air if that is the only power sourceavailable or be powered by AC current or internal battery," said JackDabrowski, Allied product manager for emergency products.
The MCV100 offers tidal volume (the amount of air breathed in and out)settings of 200 to 1200 milliliters and eight to 20 breaths per minute, oxygenmixing capability, breath-assist function for spontaneous breathing, fullarray of audible and visual safety alarms and a rechargeable battery with athree-year shelf life, Dabrowski said.
The MCV100 meets all requirements in the American Association forRespiratory Care's "Guidelines for Acquisition of Ventilators to Meet Demandsfor Pandemic Flu and Mass Casualty Incidents" report of May 25, 2006.
About Allied Healthcare Products, Inc.
Allied Healthcare Products, Inc. (Nasdaq: AHPI) manufactures a variety ofrespiratory products used in the healthcare industry in a range of hospitaland alternate care site settings including sub-acute care facilities, homehealthcare and emergency medical care. The Company's product lines includerespiratory care products, medical gas equipment and emergency medicalproducts. Its products are marketed to hospitals, hospital equipment dealers,hospital construction contractors, home healthcare dealers and emergencymedical products dealers.
SOURCE Allied Healthcare Products, Inc.