In an ideal world, no one treating patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) would have to connect multiple patients to a single ventilator. However, the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic leaves us in a far from ideal world, and healthcare professionals in hard-hit regions will have to strike a balance between the resources available and the resources their patients need. In the most extreme case, they might thus have to consider the unseemly solution of connecting multiple patients to a single ventilator.
Enter the Differential Multiventilation International Working Group. What started as a test setup built by Dr. Mergeay, Dr. Stiers, and Dr. Janssen in the hospital of Geel, Belgium, has grown into an international collaboration of more than 30 medical doctors and engineers from Belgium, the USA, UK, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and Canada. Several of our contributors had built their own test setups before deciding to join forces. Now the whole team is working together to describe and test the safest way to share or split a ventilator between multiple patients. This website is a means to rapidly share our work with health care professionals who unfortunately might find themselves in the extreme circumstances of a ventilator shortage.
We would like to stress the fact that this setup has not been used in a clinical setting, and that we do not consider the testing complete. It is by no means anything else than a last resort solution. But given the short time and extreme circumstances, we would like to share this setup here with everyone interested to replicate and test it.