The Doctor Weighs In | Designing a Safer Breathing Tube for Patients and Caregivers

The innovative BayWin valve allows for deep suctioning of mechanically ventilated patients without the risks associated with breaking the closed circuit.

There are approximately 1.65 million Intensive Care Unit patients who are mechanically ventilated in the U.S. each year. In addition, mechanically ventilated patients are found in long-term acute care (LTAC) facilities, extended care and skilled nursing facilities, and in some home care settings. As a practicing pediatric cardiologist, I have witnessed the harmful consequences for both the patient and caregiver when the closed circuit of mechanical ventilation is broken in order to perform procedures, such as deep suctioning, that require the circuit to be opened.

Although there are systems on the market that allow for closed suctioning of patients, it is recognized that it is often necessary to disconnect the patient—that is, break the circuit—to achieve meaningful, effective suctioning assisted by manual Ambu bagging. Moreover, most respiratory therapists, if given the choice, would Ambu bag the patient while suctioning as this will result in a more effective pulmonary toilet. It also may be necessary, at times, to break the circuit when medication needs to be dispensed, pulmonary function tests need to be performed, and, in some cases, when bronchoscopic procedures are required. More…