• LLNL mechanical engineer Ken Enstrom (l) and technicians Greg Norton (c) and Aaron Sperry test and validate simple ventilator prototypes that could be easily assembled from readily available parts. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL
     LLNL mechanical engineer Ken Enstrom (l) and technicians Greg Norton (c) and Aaron Sperry test and validate simple ventilator prototypes that could be easily assembled from readily available parts. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

LLNL Develops 'Stopgap' Ventilator for Quick and Simple Assembly

April 30, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
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A self-assembled “skunk works” team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has worked tirelessly to prototype a simple ventilator design for quick and easy assembly from available parts. The effort is in response to a potential surge in demand for ventilators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed the “Novel Emergency Response Ventilator” (NERVe), the design comes from proven concepts and contains parts that are not being used by commercial ventilator manufacturers to prevent disrupting already thin supply chains.

NERVe is designed to meet the functional requirements of COVID-19 patients in need of mechanical ventilation, including a simple user interface, air flow circuits for inhalation and exhalation and alarms to notify physicians if air pressures get too low. It can operate in a continuous ventilation mode—common for late-stage COVID-19 patients—but can adapt to patients who spontaneously breathe on their own.

The prototype will need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it can be used with COVID-19 patients.

Companies interested in working with LLNL to help mass produce and commercialize the prototype ventilator are invited to visit the site

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