In a situation where ventilators are in short supply, multiple patients on a single ventilator could be a strategy of last resort. In this podcast, Arthur S. Slutsky, MD, discusses his article “Personalized Ventilation to Multiple Patients Using a Single Ventilator: Description and Proof of Concept” (Han J, et al. Crit Care Explor. 2020;2:e0118). A figure included in the article will provide a valuable visual aid to listeners. Dr. Slutsky will discuss publishing information he hopes no one will ever have to use, but he encourages institutions to practice and test the proof of concept as an exercise in emergency preparedness. The concept may also have benefit for resource-limited areas. Beyond the complexity of building the circuits, challenges related to alarms, infection control, and other complexities must also be considered. “In a time of crisis where resources are limited, we introduce a system of multiple secondary breathing circuits driven by a ventilator in preference to that of simply splitting the breathing circuits, which has been shown to raise multiple risks for patients,” he writes. Dr. Slutsky is vice president or research at St. Michael's Hospital and professor of medicine, surgery, and biomedical engineering at University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.
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