Amrita University Steps Up to Support Indian Medics Fighting COVID-19

    KOLLAM, India, April 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The front-line fighters against COVID-19, namely the healthcare workers world over, are facing shortages of critical medical supplies. Due to this, several doctors and nurses are contracting COVID-19, sometimes even succumbing to this deadly virus. There is a severe shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) world over and to respond to the needs of healthcare workers, doctors from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) and engineers from Amrita Institutions have designed several low-cost solutions.

    Intubation of COVID-19 patients is one of the most hazardous procedures because of risk of aerosols generated. Plastic surgery team at AIMS led by Dr. Sundeep Vijayraghavan created an acrylic 3-sided box which physically separates the intubation team from the patient. AIMS doctors have supplied an intubation box to Government medical college, Kottayam and Government medical college, Ernakulam.

    Dr. Sundeep's video is at

    AIMS doctors have designed face shields/visors that can be used with the currently available PPE Kits at AIMS using easily available materials like baseball cap with a stiff frontal peak, OHP transparency sheet and double-sided tape. A variation of this is the face shield using Styrofoam strip, OHP transparency sheet, double sided tape and string. Over a 1000 of these shields have already been made by AIMS plastic surgery department and distributed both within and beyond AIMS. A third variation of the shield includes a 3D printed face shield which takes about 2 hours to print.

    Dr. Sundeep's video is at

    In order to be prepared to face future shortages of N95 and equivalent masks, AIMS doctors have designed several adaptations of face masks which includes a hood designed using polypropylene (PP) surgical wrap material with a front viewing window of a OHP sheet. Another variation is to make a flexible ring out of PLA filament to hold a regular surgical mask tightly against face to give a tight seal. In another model, a 3d printable Montana mask design was modified, and enhanced it with a dental putty. When the kneadable putty hardens, it provides a custom, comfortable airtight seal for any healthcare worker's face. Filter material is being specially prepared to be fit into these masks. 3D printing of masks and face shields is being done entirely within the Amrita institutions.

    To be prepared for the eventuality of meeting shortages of ventilators available in the emergency department, AIMS doctors have designed and tested inflow and outflow splitters that can be quickly attached to existing ventilators to provide ventilation for multiple adults simultaneously. This solution can be used only if equal ventilation is needed for both the patients.

    These are only a few of the many solutions that have not just been designed, but have been tried and tested for usability, availability of materials and for scale in production.

    Smart Phone-Based Remote Monitoring of Patients in ICU & Isolation Wards

    As apparent from the current global pandemic, Covid-19, physical isolation from victims who have contracted contagious diseases is very critical, especially for healthcare workers. In such situations, remote monitoring of the patients from a protected 'nursing station' is very useful. A simple method of using Smartphones and server software can be used to minimize exposure of healthcare personnel to the patients.

    Our use case employs smartphones (or similar IP-based camera solutions) for capturing data from bedside monitors on a periodic basis. The data arrives at the server in real time and is processed to provide further alerts. This, to some extent, reduces the necessity for healthcare personnel to attend the patient over trivial cases. Our primary target is to provide facilities to healthcare personnel to remotely monitor a large number of patients hosted in observation rooms with beds.

    (1) Smartphone (and similar IP-based capture devices) can be used to capture bedside monitor data and live stream of it can be viewed in a network operation and control (NOC) room isolated from the care unit the patients are housed in. Only if there is a surge in the vitals, and the situation warrants, the doctor/nurse is required to attend the patient reducing the risk of the doctor/nurse getting infected.

    (2) Several Optical Character Recognition algorithms can be run on the captured images to automate the process of alerts.

    (3) Smartphones which have microphones and displays enable doctors/nurses to communicate with the patient, audio-visually.

    (4) Other services, such as informational videos, inspirational videos and entertainment videos, Audio-video calls with family/friends, may also be provided to patients, mainly for (1) healthcare personnel to assess patients' mental condition and (2) patients to be able to interact with someone remotely, even during their isolation time.

    For more information, please contact: Dr. Maneesha, +919447498834


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