Ventilator for intensive care in crisis areas


Ventilator for intensive care in emergency areas: humanitarian project of members and partners of the RWTH Aachen

Picture of Prototype Peoples Ventilator Copyright: © AC4health gUG

The corona pandemic poses enormous challenges for medical care even in highly developed countries. Catastrophic conditions are looming in developing countries. Against this background, employees, colleagues, and alumni of the RWTH Aachen University around Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. med. Steffen Leonhardt have come together to develop a ventilator that is medically suitable for ventilating COVID-19 patients in intensive care units over several weeks. Thus, this initiative complements the numerous other projects and devices aimed at short-term emergency care, e.g. on the way to the hospital. The PV1000 device is being developed in cooperation with intensive care physicians at the Aachen University Hospital, taking into account aspects relevant to approval. To finance and manufacture the devices, which are to be made available free of charge to hospitals in emergency areas, the non-profit association AC4Health was founded, which will accept donations, components, and cooperation offers with immediate effect.

The disease COVID-19 leads to various supply shortages around the globe, which motivates more and more people to alleviate the need through voluntary work. Thus, five weeks ago, around the experienced developers of respiratory equipment, Professor Steffen Leonhardt and Dr. Marian Walter, not only numerous employees of their own chair for medical information technology (MedIT), but also of the chair for computer science 11, the chair for medical technology (mediTEC), the institute for motor vehicles (ika) and the business fka GmbH gathered. They all share the goal of making a life-saving contribution to mastering this global medical challenge by developing and manufacturing a ventilator for intensive care medicine.

The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) is also involved in the production of complex components, and the Institute for Fluid Power Systems and Controls (IfAS) provides advice. Furthermore, the Clinic for Operative Intensive Medicine and Intermediate Care (OIM) is involved with regard to medical usability and testing. Operationally, the companies Mindmotiv GmbH supports Mindmotiv in testing and SurgiTAIX AG in quality management to ensure the highest possible degree of maturity of the ventilator.

The intensive voluntary work, also on weekends, has paid off: at least one technical solution variant has been developed and tested for all relevant components of the PV1000 ventilator, so that the overall concept is now being defined, taking into account the availability of critical components. The project has now entered the operational phase, as the specification has been finalized, components procured and the actual device can be designed and built. For this purpose, the company AC4health gUG was founded last Thursday, which fulfills the strict criteria of a non-profit organization to enable the realization of the device on the basis of donations and grants. In the first step, 1,000 devices are to be built and shipped to affected regions with political or private support.

Further information on this humanitarian project can be found on the product website of the PV1000