ST. LOUIS , Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Mass casualty incidents -- such as terrorist attacks, pandemic flu outbreaks or natural calamities like earthquakes or hurricanes -- raise the life-and-death reality that existing medical equipment is not adequate to provide treatment for all who need it. One of the most critical gaps is the lack of ventilators for people requiring respiratory support.
Disaster specialists and health care professionals know that mass casualty events could mean that:
-- skilled hospital personnel would be overwhelmed by the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation;
-- mechanical ventilation for people with respiratory failure might have to be provided outside acute care hospitals, including in the field with caregivers, patients and care equipment exposed to the elements;
-- electrical power may not be available, possibly for several days or even longer.
A company in Missouri -- Allied Healthcare Products, Inc. -- has addressed these tough requirements by developing the first ventilator designed from inception to meet the unique demands of mass casualty incidents.
"Hospital ventilators are highly effective in the hands of skilled respiratory therapists. However, they also are very expensive, immobile, fragile and depend on a functioning power grid," said Earl Refsland , chief executive officer of Allied Healthcare. "In the event of a mass casualty event, we simply can not depend on hospital ventilators alone. That's why Allied decided to work on this solution."
With input from the medical community, disaster specialists and first responders, Allied designed the Mass Casualty Ventilator (MCV)100, a life-support device that is small, light weight, rugged, low-cost, easy to maintain and, importantly, easy to operate by non-specialists after simple instruction. The MCV100 recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"The MCV100 is a 'force multiplier' for disasters," said Kevin Kroupa , vice president of engineering at Allied. "It will mean that volunteers can deliver life-saving ventilation to large numbers of people, allowing health care professionals to use their skills to greatest advantage."
The 14-pound MCV100 costs from
Also unlike a hospital ventilator, Allied's MCV100 can be powered by its internal rechargeable battery or ordinary electric power. The battery runs the ventilator for 21 hours if compressed oxygen is used. If compressed oxygen is not available, the battery will power the unit for seven hours. Auxiliary battery packs will be made available that will deliver 42 hours of run time when operated with compressed oxygen and 14 hours without compressed oxygen. Batteries recharge in five and 10 hours, respectively, for the internal battery and auxiliary pack.
"Allied will introduce another MCV ventilator in about two months that can run exclusively on compressed oxygen or air if that is the only power source available or be powered by AC current or internal battery," said Jack Dabrowski , Allied product manager for emergency products.
The MCV100 offers tidal volume (the amount of air breathed in and out) settings of 200 to 1200 milliliters and eight to 20 breaths per minute, oxygen mixing capability, breath-assist function for spontaneous breathing, full array of audible and visual safety alarms and a rechargeable battery with a three-year shelf life, Dabrowski said.
The MCV100 meets all requirements in the American Association for Respiratory Care's "Guidelines for Acquisition of Ventilators to Meet Demands for Pandemic Flu and Mass Casualty Incidents" report of May 25, 2006 .
About Allied Healthcare Products, Inc.