Updated: April 19, 2021 6:39:55 pm
While the demand for medical oxygen is up by manifolds due to the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India, The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) supplemental Oxygen Delivery System, expected to help Covid patients as well.
Developed by Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bengaluru of DRDO, the system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 levels and prevents the person from sinking into a state of Hypoxia, which is fatal in most cases, if sets in.
Hypoxia is a state in which the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues is inadequate to fulfill all the energy requirements of the body. This is exactly the situation that gets replicated in a Covid patient due to the virus infection and has been a leading factor in the current crisis.
Accorduing to DEBEL researchers, the electronic hardware of the system is designed for functioning at extreme altitudes featuring low barometric pressures, low temperatures and humidity. “The software safety checks incorporated into the system are critical in ensuring the functional reliability of the system in field conditions,” officials added.
Primarily designed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas, the system reads SpO2 levels of the subject from a wrist-worn pulse oximeter module through wireless interface and controls a proportional solenoid valve to regulate the oxygen supply to the subject.
Explaining how it works, DEBEL researchers added that the oxygen is delivered from a lightweight portable oxygen cylinder through nasal nares. “The system is available in various sizes from one litre and one kg weight with 150 litres of oxygen supply to 10 litres & 10 kg weight with 1,500 litres of oxygen supply which can sustain for 750 minutes with a continuous flow of two liters per min (lpm),” the team of developers said.
Another highlight of the system, indigenously developed for operation in field conditions, is that it is robust and cheap and is already in bulk production with the industry.
“The system is a boon in the current pandemic as it can be used in the household for moderate Covid patients for Oxygen flow therapy with flow controlled at 2/5/7/10 lpm flow. The automatic usage has a huge advantage in the household, as the oximeter would give an alarm for lower SpO2 value. It will automatically increase/decrease the O2 flow based on the SpO2 setting which can be auto-adjusted at 2, 5, 7, 10 lpm flow rate. The optimal O2 flow rate conserves the O2 resources/O2 management and greatly increases the endurance,” DRDO said in a statement.
Further, DRDO officials added that the facility is simple to use by nature even to a common person. “This will greatly reduce the workload and exposure time of doctors and paramedics to monitor the SpO2 levels of the patient. The automated Calibrated Variable Flow Control for Low O2 levels (User pre-set, <90%, <80%) through a calibrated Flow Control Valve (PFCV) will facilitate in economising the oxygen supply (1-10 lpm with ±0.5 lpm),” officials added.
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