Coronavirus: Full face snorkeling masks to ease respirator overload

Full face snorkeling masks before possible use in the health care sector. Connectors to use the snorkel mask as end-piece of a ventilator.

The lack of respirators respectively the overload of respirators and the lack of enough protective masks is one of the biggest challenges in the Corona pandemic. Creative solutions are needed now. The idea came from Italy that Covid-19 patients can be artificially ventilated in emergencies using conventional full-face snorkel masks. The full-face snorkeling masks of e.g. mares and Ocean Reef can thus be connected to conventional (medical) ventilators, which supply compressed air to the masks.

The use of these snorkel masks, equipped with a filter unit, as personal protective equipment could somewhat help to ease the lack of PPEs. The APA adapter for Oceanreef’s Aria masks will be produced in large quantities starting this week. This adapter allows the connection of a FFP2 or FFP3 filter. Then the mask can be used as a personal protection mask.

Commenting on the idea, Guy Thomas, Director of Safety – DAN, said: “Personally I think it is great to see a company as Ocean Reef to help resolving a current problem during this covid-19 outbreak. This probably is a valid solution for healthcare providers or rescue teams who are in close contact with persons positive for covid-19”.

Snorkel mask as respirator

The adapters for connecting the Aria masks to a ventilator, for example, are provided as 3D files. Anyone can use these files freely but should be aware that they do not have medical approval. You should already know what you are doing. But – special times require special solutions.

First tests in intensive care

The idea is to feed compressed air into the masks to support breathing and to turn the snorkel masks into a “end-piece” of a ventilator. This mechanism prevents the alveoli from collapsing. In the case of pneumonia, as can occur in the severe course of a coronavirus infection, the lungs can only absorb a very limited amount of oxygen. In such cases, short-term help can be provided by respiration via masks.

The specially adapted masks are therefore intended for patients “with severe breathing difficulties”. Clinical tests will probably start this week.

The principle is simple: where the snorkel normally protrudes from the mask, a component with two entrances is mounted. A hose with the oxygen supply is then connected to this. Since the masks are airtight against the face, the compressed air can get into the lungs. The converted sports equipment could thus be used instead of respiratory masks.

Santorini Scuba Academy News | Source: SSI blog

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