The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

POOR VENTILATOR PLANNING COULD RESULT IN A BIGGER DISASTER

Mark D. Babic1



Background: Institutions throughout the country have purchased ventilators for a stockpile to prepare for the increased number of patients who may require mechanical ventilation in the event of a disaster. This study examined whether stockpiled ventilators would be ready for immediate use after long term storage.

Methods: Three Impact Uni-vent 754 (Impact), and three Pulmonetic LTV1200 (LTV) ventilators were tested after being stored without servicing or charging for 17 months. The LTV ventilators had both an internal and external battery and the Impacts had only an internal battery. All the ventilators were unpacked and turned on to determine if there was any charge left after being stored. Next the ventilators were charged for 48 hours, and then tested to see how long they were able to ventilate a test lung. All the ventilators were set at a Tidal Volume of 400mL, frequency of 12 breaths per minute, inspiratory time 0.7 seconds, and a PEEP of 5cmH2O. After this, the ventilators were again charged for 48 hours and then unplugged for one month to see if they were able to hold their charge.

Results: Initially the internal and external batteries of all three of the LTVs were completely drained of power from being stored. The three Impacts turned on with a "preventive maintenance due" warning on the screen, but were able to ventilate a test lung. The LTVs internal battery would not charge but the external battery did fully charge as indicated by the meter on the battery. See table for ventilation times.

Conclusion: Neither vendor of these ventilators recommends storing their ventilators without being charged. However, due to oversight and poor planning, the ventilators were neglected and not properly charged while in storage. Before institutions purchase ventilators, they must plan for proper storage and maintenance in order to be prepared in the event of a disaster.