The SAVe (Simplified Automated Ventilator) by AutoMedx is a highly portable, automated ventilator originally designed for use on the battlefield. Unlike most other ventilators currently in the field, the SAVe requires relatively little training to use effectively.
The SAVe (Similified Automated Ventilator)
This simplified volume-constant ventilator holds great potential as the first AED of Resuscitation. Its technology makes it quite easy to use. If you can turn on a switch and hold a facemask with two hands, then you can use the SAVe.
Looking at it simply, it’s sort of a portable suction machine that operates backwards. It’s driven by a small, portable battery-powered air pump that delivers a preset tidal volume and rate suitable for most adult resuscitation needs. It guarantees a more consistent volume of ventilation at controlled ventilation rates and pressures.
When we put it on the test bench, it delivered a tidal volume of 640cc without supplemental oxygen 12 times per minute, at room air oxygen concentrations, with a reliable 38-40cm pressure relief and inherently safe 24LPM inspiratory flow. It eliminates complications from hyperventilation, while assuring a minimum minute volume at safe inspiratory pressures.
We have seen similar types of simple ventilators before. Some of the more reliable and proven resuscitator designs are the PneuPac 2R, and its predecessor the H.A.R.V., the more recent Smiths Medical Pneupac VR-1, the handheld O-TWO CAREvent Resuscitators and the Allied Healthcare AutoVents. However, all of these devices need a source of compressed oxygen to drive the pneumatic operation.
In contrast, the SAVe is entirely battery powered, and can hold a charge for three to nine months depending on the storage temperature. It can run continuously for over five hours on a single charge. The unit does not require any compressed gas source. Instead, it uses a battery-driven pump to deliver ambient air. You can, however, supplement oxygen if you have a source available. When supplied 6LPM of oxygen from a compressed source, it delivered about 60 percent oxygen.
Measuring only 6.5 x 6.25 x 2.5 in., and weighing in at just slightly more than three pounds, you could pack a bunch of these lunchbox-sized devices in a big Pelican box and replace the ventilator capacity of a large hospital instantly.
However, in my opinion, its control interface alarm options could use a little refinement. It currently has both high-pressure and low-pressure alarms with multiple alarm alert options available — from no audible alarm to both audible and visible alarms. I worry that this is just too many options for the average first responder. I’m sure this flexibility in it’s controls is due to its military heritage as a compact MCI ventilator.
Field hospitals in battlefield locations need a ventilator that largely tends to itself and can also be placed on silent when in a tactical environment. However, the civilian first responders’ needs are a little simpler. It would be smart to make this device operate with a simple on/off switch, with a preset default option for the desired alarm operation. This one observation aside, the SAVe is a unique new resuscitation product.
For many years, we have long known the limitations of the bag-valve mask device when in the hands of first responders. It’s a tough skill to master. Most squeeze it too often and quickly, resulting in high airway pressures and rates, and notoriously low tidal volumes. A product like the SAVe — which can ventilate some of the most easily saved patients, like narcotics overdoses and other respiratory emergencies — has really never been needed more.
For the first time, this tiny little resuscitator can offer almost anyone the chance to ventilate at safe volume and rate settings with a minimum of training. The rugged construction and long battery life assure it’s always ready to help you do a much better job of first response resuscitation.