New type of ventilator designed in Andalucía successfully tested on a patient in Antequera

Researchers Carlos Pérez del Pulgar, Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta and Víctor Muñoz, with the ventilator prior to testing.

Researchers Carlos Pérez del Pulgar, Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta and Víctor Muñoz, with the ventilator prior to testing. / SUR

  • The machine called 'Málaga Respira', which has been developed by doctors and engineers at Malaga University, can be produced in two hours and will help to meet the high demand

A ventilator designed by doctors and engineers from Malaga to be used in the fight against the coronavirus has successfully passed the first clinical test on a real patient, carried out earlier this week at the hospital in Antequera.

This project is being coordinated by the Fundación Progreso y Salud, which is part of the Andalusian government's Ministry of Health and Families.

The clinical test enabled experts to check that the machine was working correctly with regard to ventilation and oxygenation of the patient, and that there were no side effects caused by the mechanical ventilation, the regional government explained in a statement.

The Spanish Medication and Sanitary Products Agency required two tests of this type to be carried out on the ventilator before giving the go-ahead for its manufacture.

The team is made up of doctors from the Regional and Virgen de la Victoria hospitals in Malaga and researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Malaga (Ibima), in collaboration with a group of engineers from Malaga University.

This team managed to develop the prototype for the ventilator in less than a week. It has been named 'Málaga Respira' and is validated medically by the doctors from the two hospitals and the engineers from the university.

The original idea for this ventilator came from the thesis which cardiovascular surgeon Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta worked on some years ago. It may be extremely useful, given the current coronavirus situation and the demand for this type of equipment for patients with respiratory difficulties.

This type of ventilator can be made in approximately two hours and it contains no mobile components at all, which reduces the risk of mechanical failure or materials wearing out.

The electrical system's control is based on commercial machines designed for continuous use with a very low risk of failure, so it means that different respiratory parameters can be controlled, such as the frequency of respiration, pressure and the inspiration-expiration ratio.

It offers a real alternative to the certified ventilators which are currently being used in intensive care units for patients who are seriously ill with Covid-19 symptoms.

A second phase involving animal testing was also successful after 24 hours in operation.

This part of the process was possible thanks to the experience of animal health specialist Ricardo González-Carrascosa, who is a veterinary surgeon appointed by the University of Malaga and coordinator of the 'Animal Experimentation' platform at Ibima, who joined the rest of the professionals for this project.

The team

The team which has designed the ventilator comprises Víctor Muñoz from Malaga University, who was responsible for the assembly and circuit design for the system; Carlos Pérez del Pulgar, a systems engineer at the university who is responsible for the programming of the machine; Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta himself; intensive care doctor Miguel Ángel Prieto, who is also coordinator of research at the Regional Hospital; anaesthetist and intensive care doctor at the Virgen de la Victoria hospital, José Luis Guerrero Orriach; Gonzalo Varela Simó, thoracic surgeon, former president of the European Thoracic Surgery Society and scientific adviser at the University Hospital in Salamanca; Isabel Guerrero, the head of the Innovation Unit at Ibima; Francisco Tinahones, scientific director of Ibima; and manager José Miguel Guzmán.