Chennai-headquartered TVS group along with the Sundaram Medical Foundation a community hospital and IIT-Madras have jointly developed a low-cost automated respiratory assist device called the Sundaram Ventago.
The development was done in collaboration with hospitals including Kauvery Hospital and the Madras Medical College with guidance from global educational institutions like MIT-Boston. TVS Group says the Sundaram Ventago is designed to internationally accepted medical standards with an objective to give every patient equal access to quality medical support at an affordable cost. The device provides respiratory support to patients using the controlled and automated squeezing of a self-inflating or AMBU bag and includes functionalities to control respiratory rate (breaths per minute), tidal volume, pressure parameters and I:E ratios.
The Sundaram Ventago provides physicians a simple and cost-effective option when incoming patients with respiratory difficulty surpasses ventilator capacity and is especially useful in remote and rural areas where ventilator facilities are not available. This the company says is an essential need in pandemic situations like we face with Covid-19. The Sundaram Ventago works with or without compressed/hospital air and oxygen and requires only a standard power connection to operate (easy to use in non-ICU wards, ambulances, remote/rural areas). The device can also be used in conjunction with a standard UPS and mounted on a crash cart, wheelchair, bed, in an ambulance etc. to support patient mobility and used as an emergency transport ventilator.
With patient safety, functional reliability and product durability as key objectives, the design was evolved over multiple stages using a rapid product development model where a cross functional team worked with top anesthesiologists, pulmonologists and intensivists from leading hospitals to integrate clinical inputs into the design. The device is rugged and uses frugal engineering principles.
The simple design comprises three major assemblies - the actuator unit, the electronic control module and the ambu bag with patient airway circuit. The device has been functionally validated to international standards and an extensive risk analysis has been performed with Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre of IIT Madras. The ethics committee at Kauvery hospital is in the process of evaluating the device. The device is ready to go into production and manufacturing will be scaled up in line with orders received.
Commenting on the Sundaram Ventago development, Sriram Viji, deputy MD – Brakes India, TVS Group said, “Looking at the number of Covid-19 cases in India and using proxies around the world, we need to do everything we can to supplement our healthcare system. The TVS group has leveraged its engineering talent and its quality first approach to develop an affordable respiratory assist device. The Sundaram Ventago is a ‘Make in India’ product with a local supply chain, based on proven global technology. It can be produced quickly in larger numbers. The Sundaram Ventago will also have a great impact post-COVID as this device can make respiratory support more affordable and available to all”.
Dr. Jayaraj Joseph, faculty of Electrical Engineering at IIT Madras said, ‘’We are glad to partner with the TVS group in the design of the Sundaram Ventago project. It offers far greater precision than manual pumping, even with 24+ hours of continuous use. The device is versatile and mobile. It constantly monitors and reports respiratory parameters that are important to clinicians and is very easy to use. It also provides the needed patient safety features such as audible alarms for line disconnection or in the case that the PIP exceeds a certain threshold. We also performed a detailed risk analysis towards certification of the product. We look forward to the product succeeding and creating impact in the Indian healthcare system”.
Dr. S Aravindan, executive director, Kauvery Hospitals said: “More than 80 percent of medical devices used in India are imported. Cost effective ventilators like this manufactured in India will significantly bring down the cost of healthcare”.
Dr. Sridhar, chief intensivist, Kauvery Hospital who was the senior medical advisor involved in developing the ventilator said, ‘’Sundaram Ventago could help in the post-Covid world in the care of critically ill patients in ICU and during transport of patients both within the hospital and in between hospitals’’.
The first batch of 25 pieces are under production at the Brakes India facility of the TVS Group. User training and support will be provided through a dedicated mobile app. The other partners for Sundaram Ventago are Vibromech, Janatics, Aditya Auto and Syrmatech.