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Engineering, physics & prototyping to develop a new humidifier
Respiratory humidifiers are used to heat and humidify the air of patients whose breathing is assisted by a ventilator in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The air must be conditioned to 37°C and at least 90% relative humidity. Over-humidification or under-humidification can lead to blocked airways, lung damage and infection.
Existing humidifiers suffer from condensation in the breathing circuit, which can cause the following patient safety issues:
• Risk of drowning
• Unwanted circuit breaking
• Ventilator damage
• Interference with ventilator trigger
We developed the Hydrator, a new humidifier that delivers high humidity and is free of condensation. It runs from an electrical base unit and takes a fresh disposable breathing circuit for each patient.
The existing humidifier market is worth around $300m, yet condensation-free humidification remains an unmet need for at least half that market. The Hydrator creates an opportunity to build a valuable medical disposables business focused on improved patient safety.
For hospitals, there is a compelling health economics argument because the Hydrator does not need the daily supply of water and filters required by existing humidifiers, thus saving money.
• Identifying problems and conceptual solutions
• Engineering physics and development
• Raising finance
• Small, light, inexpensive heat exchangers
• Heating and cooling systems for medical use
• Highly controlled humidity
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