TEL AVIV – Israel’s military has developed a system for converting CPAP breath regulators into respirators in the case that the health system is faced with a shortage of ventilators.
The “Breathable Air” project, developed by the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate’s 81st Technological Unit over the past four weeks, converts CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure — machines, typically used by first responders for breathing assistance into unique respirators, the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper reported.
The first hundred converted devices will be delivered to Tel Hashomer Medical Center on Sunday, the report cited a commander named only as Major S. as saying.
Dr. Amit Zabatani, project leader for Sheba Hospital, described the ad hoc devices as “first class invasive respirators.”
“After realizing that there would not be enough ventilators in Israel, we held joint meetings with the army unit. The idea is to use the already existing simple respiratory devices for the military and to convert them into respiratory sensing and monitoring devices.”
“We hope we will not have to use any of these devices but should we run out of our existing machines and ventilators to treat patients,” Zabatani said. “We feel much more confident that we will be able to cope by relying on these new military devices.”
Major S. added: “The idea was to develop a simple product that already exists in high supply so that our solution can be implemented in the shortest possible time.”
The system also has monitors which track the patient’s breathing and the information can then be transmitted to the hospital staff.
The Health Ministry has already put in an order for 1000 more monitors to upgrade existing systems.