If nCorV2019 hits pandemic levels the main issue will be availability of life support, since if even as little as 2-3% go onto severe respiratory issues, this would easily overwhelm the current inventory of hospital ventilators. The trick is provide positive airway pressure to keep the alveoli of the lungs open and allow the inflammation at their base to run its course. I’ve been thinking that a ‘bag valve mask’ (BVM) might be a handy thing to have on hand. Inexpensive, disposal ones are available from medical supply houses; obviously in a pinch they can be sterilized and reused. Then I got to thinking that another possible option are the literally millions of CPAP home machines that are used to treat sleep apnea, many of which can cycle and assist with both inspiration and expiration.
I had previously mentioned how CPAP machines could possibly offer some respiratory assistance if a ventilator is not available. Here is a hack that hot-rods a CPAP machine even further. Lots of nerds have Arduino boards, include this nerd.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while making your own medical equipment isn’t normally advisable, Johnny Lee’e project explores how to turn a CPAP machine into a ventilator. The idea is that since these machines are basically just blowers controlled by a brushless DC motor, an Arduino Nano equipped with an electonic speed controller could allow it to act as a one.
Here is a youtube video that illustrates how how to use one ventilator to save multiple lives.