A team of our scientists and clinical experts, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, are in the process of creating prototypes for a last-resource, low-cost ventilators created from scratch with completely original designs done at LSU Health Shreveport. This is grassroots medical manufacturing, requiring only a 3-D printer and access to internet. These ventilator designs are intended to provide respiratory support only in the unlikely event that the current local supply requires this. These devices could make emergency medical ventilation available nearly anywhere there are 3-D printers.

These devices are unique in that they do not require complex equipment, or machining for assembly. Similar emergency 3-D printed devices being created are typically complex and require some engineering skills to be assembled, in addition to knowledge of electronics and availability of specialized components that need to be ordered and assembled. The devices created at LSU Health Shreveport are very easy to assemble. Instructions for their assembly are simplified so that is easy to understand similar to how ‘LEGOs’ are built; they can be assembled by anyone, with no engineering background required.

The cost for manufacturing this temporary ventilator for low-risk patients is highly affordable. If a medical team had access to a 3-D printer and a basic motorized hand-drill, the only cost would be for the resin at an average price of $40 from a retail store. (The design from LSU Health Shreveport is provided at no cost.)


Prototypes for Ventilators

Prototype ventilator LSUHS-P combines 3D printed parts with minimal off-the-shelf components. While off-the-shelf components are shipped from vendors, most remaining parts are 3D printed locally, easily assembled, and ready to be used in a short time. (designed by Dr. Giovanni Solitro)

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Prototype ventilator LSUHS-F requires no supplied parts beyond nuts and bolts available at any hardware store. This machine was conceived for remote use in rural areas with limited access. When parts are simultaneously printed by multiple printers, devices could be ready within 24 hours. (designed by Dr. Giovanni Solitro)

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The ventilators are open-source projects and these designs will be available soon for download at the National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange website, https://3dprint.nih.gov/

Dr. Alexander and his team hope to continue to collaborate with other bio-engineering groups on similar devices.


Team members contributing to this effort include all of the following:  (Click on the name for profiles where available)

J. Steven Alexander, PhD
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
► Vent, Mask, PAPR prototyping

Steven Conrad, MD, PhD, MS, MSE, MBA, MSST, MSc
Professor of Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Anesthesiology; Ike Muslow Endowed Chair -
► PR2 Vent prototyping, 3D Design, Masks

Jason Calligas, MD
Assistant Professor Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery
► Vent prototypes, Mask

Joey Clary
► Mask design, Face Shield, 3D Printing

Kent Judkins, NDMS
► 3D printing and prototyping

Chris Kevil, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research, Dean of School of Graduate Studies
► Group coordinator, Vice-Chancellor

Ryan Mackay, MD
PhD candidate
► Filter, Mask and PAPR Design

Kevin McCarthy, PhD
Chairman of Cellular Biology & Anatomy
► Vent design

Drew Mouton, MBA, MGM
Chief Innovation Officer
► Commercial application, funding, fundraising

Nicholas Peliccio, MD
► Vent prototyping, 3D Printing

Giovanni Solitro, PhD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
► 3D Design, Vent prototyping, Masks 

Paul Weinberger, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, Director of ArkLaTex Center for Voice Airway and Swallowing
► PAPR Vent prototyping

Luke White, MD
PhD Candidate
► PAPR, mask, Valve and Vent design

3-D Printed Ventilator

3-D Printed Ventilators