Acute respiratory infections are the leading cause of global child mortality. 20–38% of deaths in the first 48 hours of life are attributed to respiratory failure. Moreover, complications associated with premature birth, often related to breathing problems, are responsible for an additional 30% of neonatal mortality. In the developed world, babies with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) receive mechanical ventilator support, but these lifesaving technologies are too expensive and resource-intensive for most of the developing world. As a result, RDS remains one of the most common causes of neonatal deaths in the developing world. There is an important need for new, cost-effective technologies to treat infants and small children with respiratory distress. The need is particularly acute on the African continent, which has the second highest number of preterm births.
In the developed world, bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a gentle and effective tool to manage babies in respiratory distress. Hospitals use tubing, wall air, and oxygen to set up bubble CPAP at the bedside. Pressure is safely and simply regulated by submerging the end of the tubing in a bottle of water. The depth of the tube in the water determines the pressure in the system.
Respiratory distress syndrome has become a major problem to newborn babies and premature babies. 20–38% of deaths in the first 48 hours of life are attributed to respiratory failure. In the developed world, babies with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) receive mechanical ventilator support but these lifesaving technologies are too expensive and resource-intensive for most of the developing world. As a result, RDS remains one of the most common causes of the 3 million annual neonatal deaths in the developing world. Deploying a low cost, easy to use and portable bubble CPAP machine in developing countries will greatly reduce fatality of newborn babies.
The First Version of Locally Built Bubble CPAP
The initial version of the bubble CPAP machine developed at the DIT Design Studio was a simple design with simple construction and included only the most essential components. It was designed during our Industrial Practical Training/Lemelson Internship of 2021. It included the air pump for the air supply whereas the source of oxygen was the central oxygen supply system at the hospitals. No additional components were included to improve the quality of the supplied mixture of air and oxygen.
The Second Version
A lot of improvements have been carried out in the second version of the locally built bubble CPAP machine. Ergonomics, aesthetics and durability of the design have been improved to a great extent. In addition to that, more advanced techniques have been used to design the h
housing of the machine. The most recognizable technique has been the bending of the acrylic material to form smooth curves in the housing design.