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U of Cincinnati start-up develops first-ever monitor for emergency ventilator

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 21st, 2022

A start-up from the University of Cincinnati (UC) is on a mission to improve emergency care with a simple but perhaps life-saving innovation.

Spiritus has developed a monitor for the bag-valve mask, a self-inflating bag commonly used in emergency care to provide ventilation to a person who is struggling to breathe. While bag-valve masks have been used for decades, there is still no method that allows medical personnel to know if they’re supplying patients with the appropriate amount of air. The Spiritus device provides that information in real time.

“They know what they’re supposed to be doing, but without the feedback, it’s like the Goldilocks zone with the three bears,” says Jason McMullan, professor at UC and co-founder of Spiritus. “They’re just as likely to breathe too little as they are to breathe too much, and every now and then they achieve the Goldilocks zone. If it’s me or my family, I want it to be Goldilocks 100% of the time.”

When designing the monitor, McMullan and co-founders Justin Benoit and Ephraim Gutmark — also professors at UC — turned to an existing technology that had long been used to measure airflow in a wide range of applications including rocket engines.

“This device really has the potential to save lives,” says Paul Bruggeman, an entrepreneur-in-residence at UC who joined the three researchers in launching Spiritus. “It’s exciting to work on projects like that.

Spiritus has received support and seed funding from the Venture Lab, UC’s start-up accelerator. “The funding that comes from the Venture Lab is so critical,” says Benoit. “I don’t know how we would have done it without them.”

Source: UC News

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