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Vacuum Isolated Exhaust Locker—VEIL—as a solution to avoiding intubating COVID-19 patients

Hospitals are facing a flood of respiratory failure patients due to the COVID19 virus. Respiratory therapies such as nasal high flow (NHF) oxygen may provide clinical benefits to some patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure from COVID19 infection.

However, clinicians are reluctant to use NHF in these patients due to the perceived risk of viral transmission to healthcare workers via virus-laden droplets or aerosols.

We introduce the vacuum exhausted isolation locker (VEIL), in clinical use as a 180 L enclosure to extract exhaled aerosols and droplets from the patient and provide a safety barrier for hospital staff. Exhaust tubing connected to hospital suction via viral particle filters continually extracts air at 60-80 L/min, sustainable from patient room suction taps as U.S. hospital construction code (NFPA99) requires >85 L/min. With a patient’s head and torso in the VEIL, there are approximately twenty VEIL-volume changes per hour, minimizing viral accumulation and avoiding CO2 rebreathing.

Devised by Prof. Timothy Morris, M.D., Gopesh Tilvawala, and Prof. James Friend, with other engineering and medical staff from UC San Diego School of Medicine, the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Qualcomm Institute, the healthcare worker can treat patients without requriing intubation.

Gratefully supported by Prof. Shu Chien (UC San Diego emeritus) via UCSD Galvanizing Advances in Engineering and Medicine's Rapid Response scheme and these organizations

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with funding, facilities, and staff

Team members

Gopesh Tilvawala •  Ernesto Criado-Hildago • Alex Grant • William Connacher • Jessica Wen • Teresa Wen • Brian Gee • Edward Aminov • Jeffrey Sandubrae 

Prof. Timothy Morris, MD, & Prof. James Friend, PhD team leaders

Work(s) (the “Work”) by:
COVID-19 Acute Ventilation Rapid Response Taskforce (AVERT) Medically Advanced Devices Laboratory
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Jacobs School of Engineering and the School of Medicine University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive MC411
La Jolla, CA 92093-0411

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