Anesthesia machines are equipped with ventilators that in many cases are capable of providing life-sustaining mechanical ventilation to patients with respiratory failure. They are used for this purpose every day in the operating room.

As the FDA stated, “wherever possible, health care facilities should use cleared [or approved] conventional/standard full-featured ventilators when necessary to support patients with respiratory failure.”

The approved labelling does not provide for using anesthesia ventilators for long term ventilatory support and Heal Force not in any way advocate or recommend the use of anesthesia machines as ventilators in any normal circumstances.  Nevertheless, anesthesia ventilators are an obvious first-line backup during the COVID-19 pandemic when there are not sufficient ventilators to meet the patient care needs.

Features of Heal Force Anestheisa Machines

  • Ventilator drive: pneumatic bellows
  • Ascending bellows for visual inspection of airtightness
  • Available working air source: O2, O2 + N2O, O2 + N2O + AIR
  • Accurate tidal volume output: 20ml ~ 1500ml
  • Fully automatic closed-loop tidal volume compensation works without manual adjustment.
  • Comprehensive breathing control modes: VCV (Volume Controlled Ventilation), PCV (Pressure Controlled Ventilation), SIMV + PCV + PSV, SIMV + VCV + PSV, PSV pressure support ventilation with suffocation protection, etc.
  • Comprehensive respiratory mechanics monitoring function (optional): three waveforms (P, F, V) P-F, P-V, F-V 
  • Display of breathing loop calculations, lung dynamic compliance calculations, spontaneous breathing tidal volume monitoring 
  • Optional mainstream or side stream ETCO2 monitoring module to display related waveforms
  • No need to warm up after starting, it can work in 15 seconds
  • Certification: ISO13485 (TUV) and CE 

Can We Use Anesthesia Ventilators instead of Invasive Ventilators in ICU?

Anesthesia machines generally have highly capable ventilators that should meet the needs of a large majority of patients with respiratory disease requiring mechanical ventilatory support. ICU ventilator shortages are expected to be a problem if the number of infected people with ventilatory failure exceeds the supply of ventilators. Using an anesthesia machine as an ICU ventilator is considered an off label use but certainly should be considered as a life-saving intervention. Anesthesia professionals should provide consultation and support to ensure that anesthetics are not delivered by mistake and ventilator settings are managed properly.

If the number of ventilators in your facility is running low, consider alternative devices capable of delivering breaths or pressure support to satisfy medically necessary treatment practices for patients requiring such ventilatory support. Health care providers should use their judgment based on the condition of the patient and the circumstances in the facility to choose the best option. Examples of alternative uses of respiratory devices used to address shortages might include the following, which the FDA believes may help increase availability:

  • For any patient needing ventilatory support, continuous ventilators labeled for home use may be used in a medical facility setting depending on the features of the ventilator and provided there is appropriate monitoring (as available) of the patient’s condition.
  • For stable patients, emergency transport ventilators may be used for prolonged ventilation in a medical facility setting.
  • For any patient needing ventilatory support, anesthesia gas machines capable of providing controlled ventilation or assisted ventilation may be used outside of the traditional use for anaesthetic indication. Because of significant differences between the anesthesia gas machine and traditional critical care ventilators, use or supervision by an anesthesia provider is recommended. Refer to the manufacturers’ websites for specific instructions on safe use of anesthesia gas machines for this indication.

Noninvasive Ventilation (NIV) Patient Interfaces capable of prescribed breath may be used for patients requiring such ventilatory support, including NIV Patient Interfaces labeled for sleep apnea.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), auto-CPAP, and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP or BPAP) machines typically used for treatment of sleep apnea (either in the home or facility setting) may be used to support patients with respiratory insufficiency provided appropriate monitoring (as available) and patient condition.

The APSF and ASA have collaborated on guidance for utilizing anesthesia machines as ICU ventilators.  Learn more:

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As the world navigates the unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heal Force has issued various solutions to deliver quality care for the people in need of healthcare all around the world. Learn more:

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