Doctors and nursing staff are exposed anyway to an above-average risk of infection during the present corona pandemic, but the risk is particularly high when patients have to be given artificial respiration by means of a plastic tube or mask. When positioning the mask or inserting the tube, coughing reflexes by the patient release viruses into the ambient air. Tests at Aachen University Hospital have shown that, through a single cough by a patient during intubation, the treatment room becomes contaminated over a large area.
To prevent doctors and care workers (and later, the cleaning staff) from becoming infected with the virus in such cases, a model for an intubation box is being developed at the hospital. The first approaches for the use of such boxes stem from China and have also since been followed up at the Clemens Hospital in Münster. The workshops in the Training and Further Education department at IKV have facilities to support the current development phase at the University Hospital, and the staff there are pleased to accompany the project with their knowledge of plastics and also to turn the ideas into initial prototypes.
The present design is made from a 400 mm thick PETG plastic, which is noted for its particularly high transparency and low viscosity, and thus satisfies the requirements for this application very well indeed.
So that the intubation box can be used everywhere, the prototype must nevertheless still be optimised and further developed. Dr. Gereon Schälte, Senior Physician in the Department of Anaesthesiology at the UKA, explains that, for intubation without an endoscope or for mobile intubation in an ambulance, additional functionalities need to be considered. IKV and the UKA remain in close contact to jointly develop solutions for optimising the product.
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