Prof. Ori Efrati, left, and Dr. Michael Cohen. (photos from IMP)
With the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine, there has also been a spike in morbidity, clearly indicating that we’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, hospitals in Israel have warned that they are steadily approaching maximum capacity, as the numbers of severely ill COVID patients breaks all records.
When COVID-19 first erupted in March 2020, health authorities warned that a surfeit in severely ill coronavirus patients would overwhelm the system due, in large part, to a lack of ventilation machines – the standard of care for coronavirus patients whose condition deteriorates to pneumonia. In the ensuing months, Prof. Eyal Leshem, director of the Centre for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba Medical Centre, explained that, in addition to the shortage of ventilators, one of the most pressing issues is the lack of highly trained intensive-care-unit staff to monitor patients attached to those devices.
An innovation by Yehonatan Medical addresses both of these issues.
Yehonatan Medical, in collaboration with Prof. Ori Efrati, director of the pediatric pulmonary unit at Sheba Medical Centre, devised a first-of-its-kind ventilation system that can treat multiple patients.
“Conventional ventilators, aside from being very costly, are limited in that they can only be used with one patient at a time,” explained Efrati. “Their capacity factor and programming functions were designed for single-patient use, and there is also the danger of cross-contamination.”
The new ventilation system resolves issues that corona ICU wards have been grappling with as the number of severely ill patients rises.
“We were able to use the relatively simple and inexpensive BipaP non-invasive ventilation machine as the basis for the advanced ventilation technology,” said Efrati. “Thanks to the high-power output and built-in disinfecting mechanism, the new system can safely treat three to five patients simultaneously.”
Moreover, a system that can treat multiple patients at one time necessitates fewer ICU-trained staff. Thanks to the remote interface, the medical team can monitor patients from a safe distance.
“This tremendous breakthrough is nothing less than a game-changer when it comes to caring for large numbers of corona patients,” Efrati added.
Dr. Michael Cohen, an engineer and scientist and the founder of Yehonatan Medical, said, “All in all, we’re talking about a system that delivers personalized care in a multi-user format.”
Additional features based on artificial-intelligence technology include the ability to have a hierarchy and classification of alerts; the ability for automatic parameter correction according to set criteria; respiratory rehabilitation for the patient by adjusting to changes in the patient responsiveness; and more. The streamlined, relatively low-cost system can be implemented in makeshift clinical settings, such as field hospitals, as well as in step-down units within the hospital, in the internal and other wards.
Yehonatan Medical is the medical department of Mofet Etzion, a company that for more than two decades has developed various security and military innovations for the Israel Defence Forces and foreign armies. Cohen has developed dozens of life-saving innovations, including in the area of cardiology, in collaboration with cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons from Israel, the United States and Canada.
“Some of the insights for the development of this revolutionary ventilation system were provided by cardiologists who helped us to devise the various accoutrements and sensors,” Cohen said, making specific mention of Dr. David Adams, professor and system chair of the cardiovascular surgery department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York; Dr. David Tirone, chief of cardiac surgery at Toronto General Hospital; and Dr. Gideon Cohen, cardiothoracic surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. The development of the system itself took place in Israel, marking the first time that an invasive ventilation machine has been built in Israel.
The advanced ventilation technology is currently in advanced phase trials at the MSR Medical Simulation Centre at Sheba, where it is being tested on artificial lungs, and is expected to be ready for mass marketing in the coming months.
– Courtesy International Marketing and Promotion (IMP)