Bubble CPAP, a Low Cost Alternative for Treating Neonates with Severe Respiratory Illness developed Rice University Engineering Students
Children born with underdeveloped lungs or severe respiratory distress are treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
The present CPAP therapy uses pretty expensive equipment. These machines tend to be actuated with mechanical pumps that can be computer controlled with high precision. Bubble CPAP, a technology that relies on cheap traditional pumps and a tank of water, has been developed by engineering students at Rice University into a real product and it was used in practical situations for study.
Two aquarium pumps provide the air pressure to the system, while the level of water in a bottle through which the air is pumped through acts like control for how much pressure to deliver to the patient.
Here’s a Rice YouTube video report on the field testing of the CPAP bubbler.
Full study on the use of equipment in Malawi was reported in PLOS ONE:
Efficacy of a Low-Cost Bubble CPAP System in Treatment of Respiratory Distress in a Neonatal Ward in Malawi