Automated bag valve mask improves breath delivery

29, Mar, 2021

EDMONTON, March 29, 2021 – With the world in COVID-19’s stranglehold, medical equipment related to patient respiration has never been more vital, and a former team of NAIT biomedical engineering technology students has found a way to breathe new life into a critical device: the bag valve mask.

The team’s invention of an automated bag valve mask designed to facilitate better breath delivery during CPR or intubation has resulted in them being named a finalist for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) 2021 Capstone Project of the Year Award. The Bag Me Up Scotty 5000 (BMUS 5000) was created by Daniel Tkaczyk, Zyryl Mariano and Edgard Jose who were inspired by issues associated with current, manually operated bag valve mask equipment.

Bag valve masks are used during medical emergencies to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients and promote oxygenated blood flow to the brain and heart. Chest compressions are also often administered to help promote blood circulation, allowing gas exchange to continue within the patient. During CPR, a combination of rescue breathing with the bag valve mask and chest compressions is required.

Functional problems presented by existing technology include medical professionals’ fatigue, inadequate breath delivery and patient gastric insufflation. Fatigue can compromise resuscitation outcomes and patient care. Inadequate breath delivery from an improper airway position prevents airflow into the lungs. An ineffective mask seal causes air leakage, hindering breath delivery and gas exchange. Gastric insufflation from overventilating (too much volume) and hyperventilating (breathing too fast) induces patient vomiting and airway obstruction.

By integrating automation during the bagging procedure, the BMUS 5000 reduces the fatigue of medical professionals performing resuscitation in the field and optimises their patient focus, enabling them to produce more consistent breath delivery. The BMUS 5000 addresses resuscitation through four different systems: touchscreen application; bag compression unit; end-tidal CO2 monitor; and web application.

The touchscreen allows the user to select either CPR or intubation mode. In CPR mode, the user will perform 30 chest compressions then manually press the red button on the device to activate the bag compression unit. The display indicates when the button is ready to be pressed as well as informs the user when the bag is compressing. During intubation mode, the user is prompted to select a compression interval time. Once selected, a start button appears on the screen and, when pressed, the automated bag valve mask begins working. A stop button appears on the touchscreen after the unit has started.

The bag compression unit’s pressure sensor measures pressure in the breathing circuit, alerting the user of any airline occlusions or overpressures.

A sidestream CO2 sensor, activated while the automated bag valve mask is in operation, monitors and records the patient’s end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) values until the procedure is finished.

After CPR or intubation mode is completed, the user may save the recorded data to the web application along with the patient’s full name and healthcare number, end-tidal CO2, pressure data points, and timestamp for each data point. Data is later accessed by logging in to the website.

The BMUS 5000 has quick disconnects to allow for efficient airline tubing replacements. Clamps hold the bag in place while bag compressions are performed, allowing for easy bag removal. The touchscreen is ergonomically slanted in anticipation of it being placed on the ground.

Tkaczyk, a native of St. Albert, had always wanted to combine his interests in electronics and patient care as did Jose who calls Grande Prairie home. Their Edmonton-based teammate, Mariano, worked as an LPN for two years before switching fields.

“It was perhaps a no-brainer that we decided to develop a more effective bag valve mask given the known impacts on medical professionals using it,” said Tkaczyk.

“This ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award finalist is exactly the right innovation at the right time in light of the challenges faced by medical professionals right now,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “If this miraculous invention is ever taken to market and mass-produced, those same professionals may breathe a sigh of relief because at least one aspect of their life-saving work is finally getting easier.”

About ASET

In addition to handing out the Capstone Project of the Year Award to deserving engineering technology students, the ASET Education and Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships, bursaries and educational funding to enhance and support the education of students pursuing engineering technology studies. 

ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 16,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries. 

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET 

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