News Science Society, 11/04/2020

Kharkiv Doctors’ Innovation: Artificial Lung Respiration Ventilator with Plastic Bag to Fight COVID-19

Kharkiv doctors have come up with the solution on how to save the lives of patients infected with COVID-19 with the aid of ordinary plastic bags. This method, which saved the lives of hundreds of patients in the 1990s, has become useful today as hospitals face a very critical shortage of artificial lung ventilation devices in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Korsunov, the professor of the Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education has suggested a method of artificial ventilation of lungs with the help of plastic bags. Dr. Korsunov tells about the method when the patient’s head is placed in a container with the necessary pressure. The doctor of medical science states that technology is not his invention and was actively used about 20 years ago.

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there wasn’t enough new equipment and only Soviet artificial lung respiration ventilators were available. They were not suitable for children aged 1 to 2, and babies often died. We sought to reduce infant mortality using Bubble CPAP,” says Volodymyr Korsunov.

The specialist suggests using modes of mechanical lung ventilation with constant air pressure for patients with uncomplicated cases. The machine made of locally produced components costs about a few hundred UAH, unlike overseas devices that are much more expensive.

The medical kit includes a special plastic bag and two parts for connection with oxygen and exhalation hoses. It is attached to an air supply device. The patient’s neck is wrapped with an elastic bandage to avoid loss of oxygen. The patient can stay inside this system for up to 24 hours.

“Biosphera company manufactures bags for mechanical lung ventilation. They are made of ultra-strong polyethylene and are non-toxic. If one tries to use an ordinary plastic bag, firstly, it will not withstand the pressure. And secondly, they can harm the patient because of its toxicity,” notes Volodymyr Korsunov.

According to the doctor, Biosphera will transfer bags to medical institutions for free. The Kharkivite is ready to advise young colleagues who will deal with saving the lives of those infected with the coronavirus.

It is estimated that about 15 percent of patients with COVID-19 will need Bubble CPAP therapy.

Text: Natalia Ivanova