Rapid Response to the Pandemic
During the early weeks of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, public health officials predicted a ventilator shortage for critically ill patients in Hawaiʻi. To address this predicted shortage, a team of physicians, respiratory therapists, and engineers from the Hawaiʻi Pacific Health system, UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, the UH College of Engineering, and the ARL at UH collaborated to develop the novel Quad-Split Ventilator System (QSVS). The QSVS is an airflow apparatus that allows physicians to provide individualized ventilation for up to four patients attached to a single ventilator. QSVS improved upon previously developed split ventilators by individualizing ventilation (tidal volume, peak inspiratory pressure, peak end expiratory pressure, and oxygen concentration) with individualized monitoring and decoupling flow between patients using bacterial/viral filters, one-way valves, and flow restrictors. QSVS is made from low-cost materials available in any local hardware store that can be readily sterilized. Within five weeks of development, the team deployed the novel QSVS at four hospitals in Hawaiʻi for evaluation by dozens of medical professionals around Oʻahu and launched preliminary animal testing trials.