Materialise Introduces 3D Printed Ventilators To Assist Healthcare Workers


Around the world, hospitals are looking for medical equipment capable of delivering air with added oxygen to treat critically ill coronavirus patients. Currently this treatment is carried out using mechanical ventilators, which are critically under-supplied. As a result, clinicians today are exploring different methods to apply positive-end expiratory pressure (PEEP) to the lungs of Covid-19 patients without the use of a ventilator.

In response to the shortage, Materialise has developed the Materialise NIP Connector, a device to convert standard equipment available in most hospitals, into a mask to facilitate breathing for patients by creating positive pressure in the lungs. These assembled masks allow clinicians to reduce the time patients need access to mechanical ventilators, which helps to reduce the strain on ventilator supplies. Materialise is now fast-tracking the regulatory registrations that are crucial to ensure the safety of patients and caregivers.

Materialise has developed a solution to deliver oxygen and create high positive pressure without the use of a ventilator. A 3D printed connector converts standard equipment already available in most hospitals into a non-invasive PEEP mask (NIP) that can be connected to the oxygen supply (to facilitate breathing for coronavirus patients). This solution gives patients an extended period of time before mechanical ventilators are required for treatment, and helps transition them off ventilators earlier, freeing up these devices for patients in critical need. By using standard medical equipment, including a non-invasive ventilation (NIV) mask, a filter and a PEEP valve, the solution is simple and familiar to use for medical professionals.

‘3D printing is playing a crucial role in fighting the global coronavirus pandemic by making it possible to develop innovative solutions and have them available worldwide very quickly,’ said Brigitte De Vet, Vice President of Materialise Medical. ‘At the same time, it is crucial that the medical products we put on the market are safe and effective. Materialise has decades of experience in certified medical 3D printing which allows us to bring 3D printed devices to the market quickly and safely.’

In addition to the NIP solution, Materialise engineers have developed several innovations to support treatment and containment of the coronavirus, including:

– A 3D printed door handle attachment, which allows users to open doors using covered forearms rather than bare hands in an effort to reduce direct contact with potentially contaminated shared door handles.
– A 3D printed shopping cart handle to allow users to steer carts with their arms rather than touching handles with bare hands.
– A 3D printed connector to adapt Scuba masks to allow for air filtration and oxygen supply.

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