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QEH King's Lynn to trial exovent's futuristic negative pressure ventilator for Covid19 patients

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn is receiving a prototype of an innovative new ventilator by exovent that uses negative pressure to assist the recovery of Covid19 patients and those with

other respiratory issues such as COPD.

It may look like something out of Dr Who, but the system is the product of a dedicated research team, over £1m in volunteer time and is part of a longer term plan in the fight against Covid19.

The new negative pressure ventilator, supplied by Anesthesia (44067842)
The new negative pressure ventilator, supplied by Anesthesia (44067842)

Dr Peter Young and SN Emily Hodges from the ICU at the QEH, were founding members of the Exovent Charity and have been active in the development of Exovent over the last year.

Dr Young said, “We are about to receive an Exovent unit in our simulation suite for training and further research in volunteers.

"We hope that, in the near future and with appropriate medical regulatory approvals or exemptions, we are able to offer the potential benefits to patients in the near future”

Speaking about the new system, exovent CEO, Ian Joesbury, stated:

“We are really excited to be unveiling this life saving system which is a cutting-edge

reinvention of pre-existing technology.

"In the UK I believe this can form part of a longer-

term plan to treat COVID-19. As the patient does not need to be anaesthetised it opens up

alternative treatment options that may allow more patients to be treated outside of

intensive care.”

The new negative pressure ventilator, supplied by Anesthesia (44067845)
The new negative pressure ventilator, supplied by Anesthesia (44067845)

exovent-19 can provide an alternative choice to using continuous positive airway

pressure (CPAP) by delivering continuous negative extrathoracic pressure (CNEP).

This device does not require to be driven by pressurised air or oxygen.

Additional oxygen that the patient needs can be provided with tubing or a face mask as required

Thanks to rapid engineering development and

prototyping by Marshall ADG (the UK’s leading privately owned Aerospace and Defence

business) and partnership with WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a highly

professional system is now available for approval.

The latest and most advanced iteration,

the exovent-19, is ready to progress to approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products

Regulatory Agency.

Once approved, several leading intensive and respiratory care units

stand ready to trial the system, including the Critical Care Research Team, Southampton

NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (University Hospital Southampton & University of

Southampton) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn NHS Trust.

Dr Malcolm Coulthard, from the exovent team, said:

“From research and findings to date, we firmly believe that the use of negative pressure

devices can transform the patient journey for COVID-19 patients and those with

pneumonia and other diseases that affect breathing.

"The technology is safe, simple to use

and systems could be built and deployed rapidly, in both the UK and overseas.

" Our recent paper published in the medical journal Anaesthesia demonstrates that the exovent-19 is

twice as efficient as other negative pressure systems.”

The exovent task force formed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, inspired

by calls from the UK Government for rapid innovation to combat the challenge presented by

this highly contagious and aggressive disease.

The team is composed of anaesthetists,

critical care consultants, nurses, medical clinicians, engineers, academics, scientists and


exovent was not part of the UK Ventilator Challenge as this was conceived for positive

pressure devices.

Instead, the exovent team focused on exploring the benefits of negative

pressure ventilation, founded upon lessons learned from nearly 100 years of Negative

Pressure utilisation.

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