14-Rapid Implementation of Remote Ventilator Monitoring and Control During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Crisis Management, Pulmonary, 2021
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The Society of Critical Care Medicine's Critical Care Congress features internationally renowned faculty and content sessions highlighting the most up-to-date, evidence-based developments in critical care medicine. This is a presentation from the 2021 Critical Care Congress held virtually from January 31-February 12, 2021.

Charles A. Bruen, MD

Introduction/Hypothesis: During the upsurge of patient admissions o with COVID-19 pneumonia and ARDS requiring mechanical ventilation, both staffing and supply resources were severely limited. Other institutions reported adapting their ventilator systems by removing the head/video display and placing it outside the room connected by an extension cable. We felt this method had several drawbacks, and undertook a rapid deployment of a more robust system which would allow complete in-room and remote ventilator monitoring and operation.

Methods: At our urban tertiary care hospital, ventilator respiratory support is deployed in five geographically separated ICUs (medical, cardiovascular, surgical, neurocritical, burn) and a 55-bed emergency department with the Puritan Bennett 980 Ventilator (Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN). An adaptor module and interface computer were procured and installed on 40 deployed ventilators. Communication was established by hospital secured Wi-Fi. Medtronic OmniSense software provided the interface control. Access could be established to any ventilator from any Microsoft Windows computer with secure access to the hospital network.

Results: From initial concept to implementation was 10 days. Approval and budgetary appropriation (approx. US$1200 per ventilator) by hospital administration was rapid given the pressing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Close collaboration with Medtronic facilitated the hardware modification and software installation. Several benefits were found. In-room visits by respiratory therapists and physicians were reduced by 4-5/day/pt., a reduction of about 50%, preventing the consumption of the corresponding amount of PPE resources and staff exposures. The most significant benefits were seen during PEEP titrations, spontaneous breath trials, patient-ventilator dyssynchrony, and allowing collaboration between the intensivist/respiratory therapist on geographically distributed patients. An unanticipated benefit was the time savings avoiding donning/doffing of PPE. No complications or patient adverse events were experienced during or as a result of remote operation.

Conclusions: Implementation of remote ventilator operation is feasible and provides significant benefits, including facilitating communication, saving PPE resources, minimizing exposures, and maximizing staff efficiency.


Meta Tag
Content Type Presentation
Knowledge Area Crisis Management
Knowledge Area Pulmonary
Knowledge Level Intermediate
Knowledge Level Advanced
Membership Level Select
Tag COVID-19
Tag Resource Allocation
Tag Ventilation
Year 2021
remote control ventilator monitoring
COVID-19 pandemic
PPE shortages
Medtronic Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators
adapter module and interface computer


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