Development of a multi-patient ventilator circuit with validation in an ARDS porcine model

Benjamin P. Wankum, Riley E. Reynolds, Andrea R. McCain, Nathaniel T. Zollinger, Keely L. Buesing, Russel D. Sindelar, Frank M. Freihaut, Tariku Fekadu, Benjamin S. Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic threatens our current ICU capabilities nationwide. As the number of COVID-19 positive patients across the nation continues to increase, the need for options to address ventilator shortages is inevitable. Multi-patient ventilation (MPV), in which more than one patient can use a single ventilator base unit, has been proposed as a potential solution to this problem. To our knowledge, this option has been discussed but remains untested in live patients with differing severity of lung pathology. Methods: The objective of this study was to address ventilator shortages and patient stacking limitations by developing and validating a modified breathing circuit for two patients with differing lung compliances using simple, off-the-shelf components. A multi-patient ventilator circuit (MPVC) was simulated with a mathematical model and validated with four animal studies. Each animal study had two human-sized pigs: one healthy and one with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced ARDS. LPS was chosen because it lowers lung compliance similar to COVID-19. In a previous study, a control group of four pigs was given ARDS and placed on a single patient ventilation circuit (SPVC). The oxygenation of the MPVC ARDS animals was then compared to the oxygenation of the SPVC animals. Results: Based on the comparisons, similar oxygenation and morbidity rates were observed between the MPVC ARDS animals and the SPVC animals. Conclusion: As healthcare systems worldwide deal with inundated ICUs and hospitals from pandemics, they could potentially benefit from this approach by providing more patients with respiratory care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Anesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Artificial respiration
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemics
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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