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Swine flu: city doc’s indigenous mini ventilator gets an award

She calls them bubbles of hope. It took Dr Aarti Kinikar only a saline bottle,an IV set and a paediatric nasal canula to save the lives of over 500 children during the swine flu epidemic last year.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
March 16, 2010 1:27:10 am

She calls them bubbles of hope. It took Dr Aarti Kinikar only a saline bottle,an IV set and a paediatric nasal canula to save the lives of over 500 children during the swine flu epidemic last year. They were down with either swine flu or respiratory distress syndrome.

An indigenous invention of a nasal bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) functioned as a mini ventilator at Sassoon General Hospital’s paediatric ICU,headed by Kinikar.

B J Medical College’s research society has conferred on her Suchintan trophy this year for the indigenous invention.

Kinikar created bubbles in the saline bottle that helped open up the air sac in the lungs via a nasal canula. The bubbles served as ventilator to pump oxygen in children who were down with swine flu and were admitted to Sassoon General Hospital. “Bubbles formed in the saline bottle gave continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via the nasal canula. This kept the air sac in the lungs open and well oxygenated,“ says Kinikar.

Unlike the Fischer Paykel Nasal bubble CPAP that serves as a mini ventilator and costs Rs 5 lakh,Kinikar and her team saved not only lives but several lakhs of rupees as the indigenous invention cost only Rs 250.

“It is a cost effective,safe,well tolerated circuit that can be used in demanding pandemic situations and can prevent progression to intubation,” says Dr Arun Jamkar,Dean B J Medical College.

From August 1 to December 31 last year,2,537 children below 12 years were admitted to Sassoon Hospital’s paediatric ward. Of the 571 children with influenza like illness,85 were positive with swine flu and the rest had pneumonia and other respiratory infections. With just a few ventilators available in the government hospital,the children were given oxygen via nasal bubble CPAP circuit. It gave an expiratory positive airway pressure of 5 cm water.

“For the study,we selected 36 children out of which 18 were positive with swine flu. They had acute hypoxemic (less oxygen in the blood) respiratory failure and were admitted to the ICU. There were few ventilators and children suffering from both swine flu and respiratory distress had to be treated,” says Kinikar. The nasal bubble CPAP worked well both for swine flu and respiratory distress.

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