Bravo: AIIMS Doctor, robotic engineer develop Cheapest pocket ventilator

New Delhi: In a commendable move, Dr Deepak Agrawal, professor of neuroscience at AIIMS Delhi along with a 25-year-old robotic engineer Diwakar Vaish have developed apocket ventilator for the patients who are required to stay on mechanical ventilation for a long term.

It is a mobile controlled device with an android app, the ventilator uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to adjust air supply to the normal breathing pattern of the patient.

“It is almost 450 times smaller than the conventional ventilators and can be moved around easily,” said the 25-year-old inventor Diwakar Vaish.

“There is a FDA-approved disposable ventilator that costs between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000, but it has a maximum life of four weeks. This will be a one-time investment and since it runs on room air, and not oxygen, the operational costs are close to zero,” said Dr Deepak Agrawal, professor of neurosurgery at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The ventilator can run on natural air flow without a dedicated oxygen supply and can be controlled by an Android app.

“It works by pushing the atmospheric air into the lungs of the patients who cannot breathe on their own. The disposable ventilators currently in use also push in air, but they do it at a fixed frequency that does not necessarily match the patient’s breathing pattern, which may cause low oxygen saturation. This device synchronises ventilator air support with the normal breathing pattern,” Dr Agrawal told HT

“We have successfully used it for a couple of hours on six fully paralysed patients at AIIMS who have been unable to return home for the want of affordable ventilators.”

“The oxygen supplied to the patients through conventional ventilators is usually diluted to 40% concentration, air contains 20% oxygen. Nine in 10 of all patients, barring the ones with severe lung problems, can breathe in the normal atmospheric air because the problem is in their diaphragm, not lungs,” he added.

The initiative is the brainchild of Dr Deepak Agrawal, professor in the department of neurosurgery at AIIMS, who in collaboration with Diwakar Vaish, a robotics researcher who heads A-SET Robotics, developed this fully functional ventilator.

“There are lot of patients in AIIMS and in hospitals across India who are required to be on a ventilator for a prolonged period and are unable to arrange them because of the exorbitant costs and the technical expertise required to operate them.

“We have 10 to 15 such patients in the neuro-surgery department itself who are on a ventilator for the last two years or more,” said Dr Agrawal.

This ventilator is easy to use and soon will be available in the market for a price at less than Rs 15,000.

“We are using the ventilator on some patients as pilot,” Dr Agarwal said.

Currently, basic ventilators cost above 2.5 lakhs in the market.