growing trend in patient ventilation products over the past several
years is the move to a universal ventilation system: one ventilator that
can safely and accurately ventilate all patients—from the smallest
neonates to children to adults.
started out with one ventilator system, and, while fringe products may
have provided pressure ventilation, that was not the norm—until we
learned that was a very viable way to ventilate adults and children.
neonates, however, these early ventilators were not suitable, due to the
difficulties caused by the need for very wide operating ranges for both
volumes and pressures. Neonates, who are at the lowest end of the scale,
require delivered-breath accuracy and resolution that is difficult to
achieve. To properly ventilate neonates, more sophisticated drive
systems and software control come into play.
Generally speaking, the mode of ventilation for neonates today is
pressure control, while for children and adults it can be either
pressure or volume control, depending on the situation.
Recently, however, there has been a big push for a universal ventilator
that can be used with neonates, children, and adults. Essentially, this
is a convergence of two separate product lines, made possible by
advances in technology. Modern microprocessor-controlled pneumatic
systems coupled with sophisticated software now offer options of
pressure and volume suitable for a wide range of patient sizes, without
sacrificing accuracy, resolution and safety all on the same machine.
universal ventilators are explicitly designed to address the very
different requirements of adult, pediatric, and neonatal patients with
one instrument. That means that preset ranges for all relevant flow and
volume parameters can be automatically adjusted with a patient-range
selection knob, and the practitioner can safely and flexibly customize
preferred treatment parameters. This ability to ventilate any patient
with a comprehensive range of features means that there is no longer a
need for separate, specific ventilators operating in specific ICU
environments—the user can move the ventilator to wherever it is most
benefit from a facility perspective is that hospitals can now make one
purchasing decision that will meet the needs of all their patients.
sales perspective, however, selling one product to both the NICU and the
ICU can be a challenge. The NICU staff traditionally has not wanted to
take its ventilator out of the department because to accidentally hook a
ventilator that has adult or pediatric settings to a neonate would be a
address this concern, the latest designs have implemented safeguards to
detect patients automatically. That way even if patients are hooked up
prior to the ventilator being appropriately set, they will not be
this means from the biomedical department’s perspective is that there
are fewer products it needs to service, and, if it has to supply parts,
there is a cost savings as well.
of training, the universal ventilator represents a significant cost
savings also. If the hospital is purchasing only one ventilator, then
the biomedical technicians will need to take only one class. That offers
a sharper learning curve and productivity in a shorter amount of time.
clinical field, one hears a lot about standardization, which allows
clinicians to go from one bed to another, and, although the patient is
different, the technology is the same. That translates into ease and
efficiency in terms of how devices are being applied to various
patients, most notably during emergencies
a lot to be said for that from a biomedical department standpoint as
well. Switching from one type of ventilator to another in the shop takes
time. The biomed needs to change gears, so to speak. In addition,
because each ventilator requires countless testing accessories,
supplies, and tools, a savings can be realized. In short,
standardization means increased productivity and savings on training,
test equipment, and parts.
patients, the facility, and the biomedical technicians, the universal
ventilator may truly be the next big thing.