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New support for corona patients in the intensive care unit

Medtech scale-up Ergotrics from Belgium already successfully launched an innovative solution to lift and position patients before spine surgery. Based on the same know-how of ergonomics and hygiene in combination with compressed air as a power source, Ergotrics now developed a solution for prone ventilation in the intensive care unit. Given the recent corona outbreak, this development arrived just in time for many patients and nurses.

“We saw the incredible efforts of health workers in the fight against the Covid-19 (corona) virus,” explains CEO Inge Bruynooghe. “The pandemic forced us to give priority to the certification of Inflatable Prone Ventilation Support (IPV). Rapid prototyping based on the current supports for surgeries in prone position has been used to shorten the innovation process.”

The idea wasn’t new. In 2015, Ergotrics did research in collaboration with Ghent University on how to use this technology in intensive care units. Scientific studies emphasize the benefits of ventilation in prone position. The experience of the Italian hospitals confirmed the advantage of this technique for corona patients. The Ergotrics cushions lift the patients into an optimal position for ventilation, allowing the abdomen to hang free. This can improve oxygen uptake in the patient’s blood.

Several intensivists testified on television about the heavy work of lifting and tilting the many corona patients who have to be ventilated alternately in supine and prone position. The uniqueness of the Ergotrics solution is to use compressed air instead of manual force. In combination with an inflatable mat it is possible to perform this work ergonomically with 2 nurses less.

Hospitals in Belgium already use the Ergotrics cushions for the ventilation of Corona patients in prone position. Both production and logistics are running at full speed in order to assist as many intensive care units as possible in their care for these critical patients.