GRBJ: Partners create problem-solving ventilator splitter

Kentwood-based Autocam Medical partnered with researchers at the University of Michigan and a 3D printing company to develop a device that allows ventilators to safely treat two patients at once.

The partners tackled the global shortage of ventilators by developing VentMI from prototype to market in under a month.

The device is a new ventilator splitter that “overcomes a previously critical limitation for shared use of these devices.” Previous splitters could deliver only one pre-set pressure to patients, which was problematic because each COVID-19 patient requires a unique pressure tailored to their lung size and degree of disease, according to Autocam Medical. Excessive volume or pressure can cause lung trauma, thereby limiting the ability to share a ventilator, the company said.

Conceived a few weeks ago by Dr. Kyle VanKoevering, of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at U-M’s Michigan Medicine and an associate faculty member in the school’s department of biomedical engineering, the new VentMI splitter has been designed, prototyped, tested and received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

Autocam Medical was mobilized to implement design for manufacturing (DFM) processes and started manufacturing the VentMI.

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