Providing Access to Key Ventilator Equipment Information for Critical Care Providers Battling COVID-19 

Very few situations are more nerve-racking in medicine than having to emergently intubate a critically ill patient and manage them on the ventilator. As a full scope family physician, I am occasionally called to perform this skill. 

Thankfully, our facility has highly trained respiratory therapists, critical care pulmonologist, and anesthesiologists to help!  

However, now with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, non-critical care providers are being asked to assist the critical care community in caring for COVID-19 patients – -even those critically ill. 

Although many healthcare systems have been able to handle the burden and ensure the “ideal” care of patients solely by critical care specialists, some systems have been overwhelmed and an “all hands on deck” approach has been necessary. For some providers, this is new territory. For others, it is brushing off the dust/rust of ventilator management. COVID-19 patients are also being found to be increasingly difficult to manage on ventilators and controversy continues on the best ventilator management for these patients. 

Numerous guidelines from SCCM, NIH, and others have been produced to help. Outstanding podcasts like those from the LIFL, EMCrit, and Hippo Education have provided frontline providers with critical information from the frontlines. 

For the basics for those with little or less recent ICU experience, I recommend the above sources as well as excellent texts on ICU care such as the outstanding “The ICU Book” by Dr. Paul Marino. Previously here on iMedicalApps.com, we have evaluated several critical care apps that discussed ventilators. We liked the recently reviewed Critical Care Compendium, and ICU Notes, but weren’t really big fans of Basics of Mechanical Ventilation. We also favorably reviewed the iOS app, The Ventilator App by Dr. William Owens, MD, and Creative App Solutions.  

What about the basics of the actual ventilators? The National Strategic Stockpile contains three ventilators including the LP10 (Medtronics), the LTV1200 (Vyaire), and the Uni-vent Eagle 754 (Impact Instrumentation). These may not be familiar to you or your critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, or primary care providers now helping in the COVID ICU. A new app called the Ventilator Training Alliance (VTA) has teamed up with ventilator manufacturers around the world to provide the basics for each of the ventilators each company currently produces.

Evidence-based medicine

The Ventilator Training Alliance (VTA) app contains information provided directly from the manufactures of the most common ventilators found worldwide. These materials include the official user manuals, training materials, educational videos produced by the manufacturer, and other respiratory care materials in an easy to use app. The quality of the presentations and videos are excellent but require a background in ventilator management.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Respiratory therapists, medical students, residents, family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, critical care/pulmonary faculty and fellows, nursing staff, and any provider who may be required to make changes to a ventilator/care for intubated patients.

Price

o Free

 Likes

o Contains hundreds of materials from training videos to manuals to presentations on ventilators from nine manufacturers.

o Can download materials for offline use.

o Available for Android.

Dislikes

o Could benefit from more basic information on vent modes, settings not specific to any manufacturer.

o Folder structure under each manufacturer could be easier to navigate/find what you need.

o Does not have information for all of the ventilator models in the Strategic National Stockpile (missing the LP10 (Medtronics), and the Uni-vent Eagle 754 (Impact Instrumentation).

 Overall

A timely app for providers who take care of ventilator patients and may not be familiar or need a refresher on the equipment they are using. The app provides a wide range of key information on the most common ventilators available worldwide in a quick and easy way.

Overall Score

o 4.5

User Interface

o 4.5

Works best on an iPad for viewing the multimedia materials, but easy to navigate on the phone.

 Multimedia Usage

o 5.0 stars

It contains excellent materials derived from so far nine manufacturers of ventilators with literally a hundred different models. Materials are available to be downloaded off-line. Quality PDFs, presentations, and videos for each model. Would be nice to see more introductory materials.       

Price

o 5.0 stars

App is free.

 Real-World Applicability

o 4.5 stars

Right now this app may be essential to critical care workers using unfamiliar ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic or using them for the first time in a long time.

Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11Pro running iOS 13.3.1.

Available for Download for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.