Scientists have come up with a new approach to sharing ventilators between Covid-19 patients. The researchers, including Indian origin Shriya Srinivasan from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe this could be used as a last resort to treat Covid-19 patients in acute respiratory distress. It involves splitting air tubes into multiple branches so that two or more patients can be connected to the same machine. Several physicians’ associations have issued a joint statement discouraging this practice as it poses risk to patients, because of the difficulty in ensuring that each patient is receiving the right amount of air. However, A team of researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has now come up with a new approach to splitting ventilators, which they believe could address many of these safety concerns. They have demonstrated its effectiveness in laboratory tests, but they still caution it should be used only as a last resort during an emergency, when a patient’s life is at stake. Giovanni Traverso, an MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said, “We recognize that ventilator sharing is not the standard of care, and interventions like this one would only be recommended as a last recourse.”
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