AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – An Auburn University mechanical engineering group’s test to turn a CPAP machine into an emergency ventilator has passed a major test for use on a live animal.
The machine, called RE-InVENT, successfully anesthetized and ventilated a live Boer goat for nearly two hours at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital. The project started as the coronavirus has caused the availability of ventilators to decrease as more and more patients are treated for COVID-19.
The goat, weighing in at 200 pounds, was tested because goats of this size have similar lung capacities to humans, according to the university.
“It went better than I expected in being able to ventilate the animal,” said anesthesiologist Glenn Woods, who is affiliated with multiple Alabama hospitals. “This test confirms RE-InVENT’s potential to meet the demand for desperately needed ventilators.”
The test was the first animal test for the RE-InVENT device. Stuart Clark-Price, an associate professor of anesthesiology, supervised the experiment.
“A functioning ventilator is one of the most important tools hospitals have for helping COVID-19 patients,” Clark-Price said. “In our test we were able to ventilate the goat and safely maintain appropriate oxygen content his blood. Then he was brought out from under anesthesia and fully recovered to return to normal activity.”
Now, the team is working on making a “booster box” that would double the device’s pressurization capacity through use of an additional CPAP machine.