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US News Italian medics are converting Decathlon snorkelling masks into 'homemade' ventilators to cope with coronavirus crisis

03:25  30 march  2020
03:25  30 march  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Italian medics are converting Decathlon snorkelling masks into ' homemade ' ventilators to cope with coronavirus crisis . Medics use 3D printed Italian medics are converting snorkelling masks into makeshift ventilator masks in order to plug the shortage of medical equipment during the

Based on research carried out in Italy , the Erasme hospital in Brussels has developed a device which transforms a Decathlon snorkelling mask into an emergency ventilator for patients suffering with COVID-19, to help mitigate any shortage of ventilators during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

(Video by AFP)

Italian medics are converting snorkelling masks into makeshift ventilator masks in order to plug the shortage of medical equipment during the coronavirus outbreak.

As hospitals face an overload of COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe, innovative medical staff have used 3D printed valves to adapt ordinary full face snorkelling masks from sports stores such as Decathlon into live saving equipment. 

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Based on research carried out in Italy , the Erasme hospital in Brussels has developed a device which transforms a Decathlon snorkelling mask into an emergency ventilator for patients suffering with COVID-19, to help mitigate any shortage of ventilators during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Medical systems around the world are in crisis , and when there’s no medical equipment Italian engineers found a way to convert snorkeling masks into ventilation masks that hospitals desperately need. Italian engineering company ISINNOVA collaborated with Decathlon and medical experts to

The idea started in Italy, the worst-hit country worst hit by coronavirus in Europe, but has now been adopted by other nations who are adding their own specific medical parts to provide critical air flow to stop patient's lungs collapsing.  

a person wearing a mask: A medical worker tests a Decathlon snorkeling mask upgraded with 3D-printed respiratory valves fittings on March 27 at the Erasme Hospital in Brussels © Provided by Daily Mail A medical worker tests a Decathlon snorkeling mask upgraded with 3D-printed respiratory valves fittings on March 27 at the Erasme Hospital in Brussels

One such is the Erasme Hospital on the outskirts of Belgium's capital Brussels, who joined with Endo Tools Therapeutics to 3D print a connecting valve between the masks and a ventilator machine.

Frederic Bonnier, a respiratory physiotherapist at the hospital said: 'They are to be used for patients with severe respiratory problems. The aim is to avoid having to intubate the trachea of the patient and put them on a respirator.'

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Based on research carried out in Italy , the Erasme hospital in Brussels has developed a device which transforms a Decathlon snorkelling mask into an emergency ventilator for patients suffering with COVID-19, to help mitigate any shortage of ventilators during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The custom-made valve fits to the top of full-face masks, where the snorkel is meant to go, allowing them to connect to standard BiPAP machines that feed pressurised air into masks © Provided by Daily Mail The custom-made valve fits to the top of full-face masks, where the snorkel is meant to go, allowing them to connect to standard BiPAP machines that feed pressurised air into masks He spearheaded the design of a custom-made valve that fits to the top of full-face masks, where the snorkel is meant to go, allowing them to connect to standard BiPAP machines that feed pressurised air into masks.

This helps prevent the collapse of alveoli, lung air sacs needed for the intake of oxygen into our bodies and the exhalation of carbon dioxide. Pneumonia brought on by COVID-19 inflames the lung membrane and fills those sacs with liquid. 

Stop-gap solution 

a man holding a glass: The pressurised air provided helps prevent the collapse of alveoli, lung air sacs needed for the intake of oxygen into our bodies and the exhalation of carbon dioxide © Provided by Daily Mail The pressurised air provided helps prevent the collapse of alveoli, lung air sacs needed for the intake of oxygen into our bodies and the exhalation of carbon dioxide In the worst-case infections, patients have to be hooked up to respirators in intensive-care units.

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C/U Snorkelling mask C/U Mask pieces SOT, Cristian Fracassi, Issinova CEO ( Italian ): "The file we created was shared for M/S Nurses inside hospital W/S Chiari road sign SCRIPT An Italian startup in Brescia has constructed hospital ventilator masks for COVID-19 patients by converting full-face

Desperate Italian medics at the coronavirus epicentre told how all their efforts ' are not enough' as their country's death toll soared above that of even China. A ventilator is a machine that supports breathing by getting oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide from the body.

But respirators are in desperately short supply worldwide because of the sheer number of patients.

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More on this story:

All the latest coronavirus news, views and analysis

Virus killer: Why soap is the ultimate weapon (The Guardian)

How to self-isolate: Key steps to prevent the infection (Vox)

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The snorkelling mask solution could be a stop-gap measure for patients on the brink of intensive-care treatment but for whom no beds nor respirators are available. Hospital masks for the less-intensive BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) machines are also lacking.

Bonnier said that from Monday he will testing 50 of the masks on patients.

a person sitting in a room: Respirators are in desperately short supply worldwide because of the sheer number of patients - the masks could help fill the equipment gap © Provided by Daily Mail Respirators are in desperately short supply worldwide because of the sheer number of patients - the masks could help fill the equipment gap They are the same brand as those used by Italian doctors, donated by the French sportswear retailer Decathlon that has stores worldwide. The masks themselves are made in Italy.

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The coronavirus crisis has also killed 44 medics in Italy after another four died yesterday and two today, a doctor's federation says. A man wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant over an army truck near the cemetery in Bergamo, which has been unable to cope with the number of deaths.

Italian engineers are turning scuba diving masks into ventilators to help hospitals battle the coronavirus pandemic. Start-up Italian 3D printer But now the firm has started making a 3D printed adapter capable of converting a snorkelling mask into a functional C-PAP mask for oxygen therapy

He explained they were far more comfortable than the hospital ones that fit over the nose and mouth, biting into the skin. But he cautioned they were not tested to medical standards, meaning they were one-use only, unable to be sterilised between patients.

The Italian design for the 3D-printed valve also needed reworking.

a man standing in front of a store: The masks are not tested to medical standards, meaning they were one-use only, unable to be sterilised between patients © Provided by Daily Mail The masks are not tested to medical standards, meaning they were one-use only, unable to be sterilised between patients

'It seemed fairly complicated to make, pretty heavy, not very comfortable. So we had the idea to go a little further by thinking on it and developing our own connection part,' he said.

The new plastic valve connectors have now been 3D-printed and are ready to be tested.

Bonnier added that health workers in COVID-19 wards could also use the masks for protection against the virus. But he fears the public will start panic-buying them, thereby depriving hospitals of a potentially life-saving product.

a close up of a hand: The new plastic valve connectors have now been 3D-printed and are ready to be tested © Provided by Daily Mail The new plastic valve connectors have now been 3D-printed and are ready to be tested He also said that, even if the tests prove conclusive, there were still questions about how many such masks could be made available by sporting companies, under what conditions.

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 Coronavirus: Macron visits a mask factory near Angers Your browser does not support this video Mask on the face, charlotte on the head and in a protective gown, Emmanuel Macron started a visit on Tuesday of the factory of masks from the SME ... Mask on the face, charlotte on the head and in a protective gown, Emmanuel Macron started a visit on Tuesday of the mask factory of the SME Kolmi-Hopen on the outskirts of Angers (Maine -et-Loire), in the middle of a controversy over the lack of this material in the face of the coronavirus.

Retailer caution

Learning of the emergency use being made of its snorkelling masks, Decathlon expressed 'interest' -- but also prudence.

'At the moment we don't have confirmation that these solutions really work,' it said on its Twitter account.

a man holding a microphone: There are still questions about how many such masks could be made available by sporting companies, under what conditions © Provided by Daily Mail There are still questions about how many such masks could be made available by sporting companies, under what conditions 'If we see successful try-outs, and these hospitals confirm to us that some tests work, then we'll keep you informed. But in the meantime, beware of unsourced and unverified information spread on social media in recent days.' 

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.


Emmanuel Macron calls for European budgetary "solidarity" in the face of the coronavirus .
© Benoit Tessier, Reuters Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace on March 26, 2020. The French president calls for "strong European solidarity, in terms of health and budget ", in an interview with Italian newspapers. He also assured Italy of his support in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and defended his management of the crisis in France. Emmanuel Macron, in favor of "Corona loans" in the face of "reluctance" from Berlin, calls for European budgetary solidarity.

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