|NEW DELHI: In a big and heavily populated country like India, it’s very difficult to narrow the gap between demand and supply. It always strains the infrastructure. Healthcare is one area where the available infrastructure isn’t enough to meet the ever-rising demand. But doctors at AIIMS Trauma Center say investing in newer technologies could at least prevent a crisis-like situation.
Ambu-bags are archaic. We don’t use ambu-bags at all. We have purchased disposable ventilators for emergencies, which cost Rs 5,000 (approx), and which run on their own, said Dr Deepak Agrawal, senior neurosurgeon, AIIMS.
Apart from providing life support during transportation (within or outside the hospital), the disposable ventilators also help wean off patients from regular ventilator support, Agrawal added.
Mohammad Javed is a case in point. The 15-year-old boy from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand has been on ventilator support since 2013, when he suffered a spinal injury. He doesn’t require full life support. So, we put him on a disposable ventilator so that he could go out of the hospital, Dr Agrawal said.
Adult respiration is about 12 times per minute, while children breathe faster. Ventilators do that for patients who can’t respire on their own.
Dr. U. K. Valecha, Director, Department of Anaesthesia at BLK Super Specialty Hospital said ambu-bags are primitive and mustn’t be used at all. At our hospitals, we have ICU ventilators that are interactive. The key parameters like oxygen saturation and respiratory rate are adjusted in these machines automatically as per the patient’s requirements, he said.
While ICU ventilators are ideal, their cost is exorbitantly high and trained personnel are required to monitor them 24x7. Private hospitals charge a lot for these services. Many ICU experts say basic ventilators with controls to monitor parameters could be used in less critical patients. No developed country or even the developing nations use manual, hand-held devices as a replacement for mechanical ventilators, Dr Valecha added.
In his address at the 56th International Respiratory Congress of the American Association of Respiratory Care, Robert M Kacmarek, an expert in respiratory care, said the current generation of ICU ventilators are the most complex and versatile of any mechanical ventilator ever manufactured. The ICU ventilators of the future will be able to integrate electronically with other bedside technology; they will be able to effectively ventilate all patients in all settings, invasively and non-invasively; alarm systems will be smart and decision support will be available, he added.