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Novel Ventilator Conceptualized by Singapore Clinicians Provides Efficient and Personalized Breathing Support for COVID-19 Patients

The SG-Inspire ventilator was built by Singapore clinician innovators in collaboration with engineers and industry experts. It offers personalized care suited to the breathing needs of each patient.

A novel ventilator model formulated in Singapore could present a potential answer for the breathing support needed by COVID-19 patients. This ventilator, named SG-Inspire (SinGapore Invasive/non-invasive support for effective respiration), was devised through collaboration among clinician innovators specialising in adult and paediatric intensive care and respiratory medicine from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), Singapore General Hospital, Changi General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital, clinician innovation engineers from the SingHealth Medical Technology office (MTO) and external industry partners. SG-inspire was formulated for the purpose of keeping aside some ventilators in Singapore’s inventory to prepare for a possible increased need for ventilators in the future.

SG-Inspire was crafted with the needs of countries in the locale in mind, by clinician innovators who are well-informed on the detailed workings in our regional fight against COVID-19. It offers both invasive and non-invasive ways of ventilation support, which can be administered via intubation or a mask respectively.

SG-Inspire also boasts many important features that distinguishes it from typical ventilators and is suited for large scale production at a lower cost. Designed with regional needs in minds, SG-Inspire represents a viable and highly effective tool in our fight against COVID-19.

It has a straightforward and easy-to-use interface, and also detects the specific breathing needs of patients via the incorporated sensors, thereby giving personalized ventilation support to patients, administered via its control software.

Some notable features include natural, pollutant-free air in combination with low-pressure medical gas, hand-free operation and efficient management and administration of breathing support. These features enable simultaneous management of multiple ventilators by one healthcare professional.

SG-Inspire composes of easily accessible materials and requires a short time for its complete manufacturing, making it very practical for instantaneous large-scale production and at a much lower cost as compared to other typical ventilators. It also represents a viable means for neighbouring states, who might not be as well-endowed with materials, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Associate Professor Derrick Chan, Director of KK Research Centre, Deputy Director of SingHealth MTO, who led the devising of SG-Inspire ventilator, “The development of SG-Inspire aims to supplement the supply of conventional ventilators, particularly in the evolving COVID-19 situation. SG-Inspire is cost-effective and has more user-friendly features compared to conventional ventilators, which allows healthcare professionals, even those in resource-limited settings, to operate with ease.”

The process of designing and building the prototype of SG-Inspire started in March 2020 and funded by the KKH Innovation Development Fund, SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Special Request for Urgent COVID Research Funding, and SingHealth Duke-NUS COVID-19 Innovation Grant. External organizations like Singapore Airlines and IFM Electronic Pte Ltd were also involved in funding the oxygen testing and sensor technology respectively.

Currently, SG-Inspire has successfully passed key tests and achieved the relevant ISO standards to certify its effectiveness as a breathing support. SG-Inspire will be going through additional checks to verify its practicality at KKH and National Heart Centre Singapore among other healthcare institutes in Singapore. It will then be pushed out for widespread clinical use after verification from these tests. [APBN]