KEY POINTS

  • 3D printed valves that helped a hospital on its problem with ventilator replacement valves are now gaining traction
  • The same team that did this is now looking into 3D printing valves for snorkeling masks that would transform them into CPAP masks needed for sub-intensive COVID-19 patients
  • Isinnova revealed that the prototype it developed worked correctly

3D printing is one of the latest technological innovations that’s playing a crucial role in helping medical frontliners defeat COVID-19. Earlier, a local Italian 3D printer establishment helped a hospital in Italy by 3D printing replacement valves. But that’s old news.

At present, Isinnova is developing another ingenious solution to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The team is working on a 3D printed adapter that transforms a snorkeling mask into a CPAP mask that would be used for Oxygen Therapy. This process is critical in treating patients suffering from severe COVID-19.

The concept was first suggested by the head physician of Gardone Valtrompia Hospital Renato Favero, who talked to Isinnova about it. “Doctor Favero shared with us an idea to fix the possible shortage of hospital C-PAP masks for sub-intensive therapy, which is emerging as a concrete problem linked to the spread of Covid-19,” reads the post. “It’s the construction of an emergency ventilator mask, realized by adjusting a snorkeling mask already available on the market,” reveals a blog post.

Isinnova shares that Decathlon, maker of EasyBreath snorkeling mask, was “immediately willing to cooperate.” They came up with a 3D printed prototype, which was proven to be working correctly. The report also claims that the hospital staff is enthusiastic about the concept.

Unfortunately, Isinnova is not yet going into the production of the 3D printed valve that transforms snorkeling masks into CPAP masks. The company says that “Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need.” Additionally, the hospital still needs the consent of COVID-19 patients to allow the hospital to use an uncertified device to care for them.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s  website, says that CPAP “is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep your breathing airways open” and “involves using a CPAP machine that includes a mask or other device that fits over your nose or your nose and mouth, straps to position the mask, a tube that connects the mask to the machine’s motor, and a motor that blows air into the tube.”