HYDERABAD: A modified CPAP mask designed with a mixed sense of ingenuity, innovation and care to make every litre of life-giving oxygen count is found to be of great help to Covid19 patients at the government district hospital at King Koti here.
Patients are able to breathe easier while this helps them to avoid being put directly on a ventilator.
“Using this modified mask, we have been able to reduce the actual oxygen content used by a patient by about 50 per cent,” Dr Jalaja Veronica, additional medical superintendent at the hospital, said.
“We have observed that the CPAP mask does not have holes as in the case of a normal non-re-breather mask (NRBM). In the new mode, there is no loss of the oxygen given to the patient. This is helping in a faster rise in saturation levels even in cases where patients came with their SPO2 levels at less than 80 per cent, making them reach 95 per cent much faster than by using an NRBM,” she told Deccan Chronicle.
Dr Veronica said she developed the first ‘prototype’ with the help of a plumber and it worked well. “The design itself was based on the one developed by Dr Sanjeeth Peter, a cardiologist from Hyderabad who works in Gujarat. “We are alumni from the Christian Medical College, Vellore. When I heard about his invention, I contacted him and he shared a video with details of how to go about making one.”
A change made to ensure that a patient gets the fully intended amount of oxygen, say 15 litres a minute – something that is not possible with an NRBM as some of the gas escapes from it – was to replace the NRBM with a non-invasive CPAP mask that fits the snug on the face and with no holes.
Instead of the normal plastic sack in which oxygen first goes into before entering the mask, a urosac bag that is much sturdier and can hold more oxygen under pressure has been used.
Another modification was a T-joint with a filter to the pipe through which the expelled air leaves, with the filter holding back any virus particles from escaping into the air.
“We found that the oxygen used for a patient has gone down by 50 per cent by using the modified mask,” Dr Veronica said, adding that the goal was to make the most out of the oxygen supplies and not let any part of it go waste.
“The first model was used on a patient for 48 hours and with good results. We made three more, which looked a little more elegant than the prototype. We never thought we will use the three immediately but had to put them to work the same day,” she said.
The biggest advantage with the modified masks, Dr Veronica said, was not just the reduced wastage of oxygen, but the relief the patients experiences. They realise that even when their oxygen saturation falls, they do not have to be put on invasive ventilation.
“The patients we have tried the masks on so far are very happy. We have also used one of the masks for weaning a patient off the invasive ventilation and this is working really well,” she said.
“All that is needed, she said, is to keep an eye on the patient using these newly designed masks to ensure they do not go thirsty. It is helping them enormously on the psychological front that they are not being ventilated,” she said....