Like other ventilators, VITAL will require that patients be sedated and a tube inserted into their airway. VITAL does the rest after that, providing mechanically assisted ventilation for patients who can no longer breathe on their own or have regressed to a serious condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome.
VITAL has a limited shelf life and the machines aren’t meant to be used for more than several months. Traditional hospital ventilators, in comparison, can last for years. NASA said VITAL is a solution made to help with the covid-19 pandemic.
The next step is for the device to be approved by the FDA, which NASA said seems likely given that the device performed well during testing at Mount Sinai’s Human Simulation Lab. What’s more, NASA is using the emergency fast-track route, in which concepts can be approved by the regulator in days instead of years.
This NASA solution to the ventilator shortage is not the only one. A group of MIT volunteers, for example, recently came up with a design, called Spiro Wave that was approved by the FDA