COVID-19 Ventilator Innovation from Mount Sinai

April 17, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

David Rapoport, MD, explains his institutions development of emergency ventilators through a common sleep apnea device.

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) spread has put an overwhelming strain on the resources and personnel of New York City healthcare institutions, as the region surpassed 120,000 confirmed cases this week—now making up approximately 20% of all cases in the US.

The need for not only frontline tools and therapies but fallback options has forced caregivers to seek outside funding and donations—and to consider innovations of their own.

A team of anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, sleep and critical care specialists, and medical students at the Mount Sinai Health System have found the replicable means of reconfiguring donated variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) machines originally designed for sleep apnea care into ventilators for use on the most severely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city.

The fallback ventilator option is now being documented for production and use, to be shared with communities and institutions similarly burdened by high patient counts and limited resources.

In an interview with HCPLive® from a remote research program in New Zealand, David Rapoport, MD, Director of the Sleep Medicine Research Program and Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, spoke on the development of the VPAP-turned-ventilator and the practice of ingenuity in pandemic response.