COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly in Italy in early 2020, with over 200000 positive cases and more than 30000 deaths. Hospitals faced a shortage of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (C-PAP) mechanical ventilation masks. This non-invasive treatment offers essential support in the treatment of patients with respiratory difficulties, such as COVID-19 ones, and can potentially avoid their admission to intensive care. Through an airtight connection with patients’ airways, C-PAP devices create a constant positive pressure airflow while improving the patients breathing capacity. As a result, it is necessary to supply C-PAP devices, and this need led to the development of alternative solutions.


Department of Information Engineering and the Department of Medicine of the University of Padova

Materiali e Parametri
The Department of Information Engineering and the Department of Medicine of the University of Padova (Italy) developed UNIPD-Mask: a set of valves that allows converting EasyBreath, the snorkeling mask developed and marketed by Decathlon, into a C-PAP mask (patent pendant n. IT 1020200008305)
The proposed invention follows the idea of Isinnova SRL (Brescia, Italy) in the development of Charlotte and solves Charlotte problems related to the limited section of its air inlet and outlet ducts. During air intake the masks equipped with ‘Charlotte’ valves cannot compensate the air volume that the patient inhales, resulting in a decrease in pressure. Moreover, when exhaling, such a setup does not evacuate the air quickly enough to avoid the sensation of fatigue in patients. UNIPD-Mask increases the volume available for the patient air intake by using a double-channel for the incoming airflow, which prevents the internal pressure to drop during inhalation, by maintaining a constant airflow of 50 liters/minute. These components can be used with portable or fixed ventilators and oxygen blenders with a standard 22mm pipe diameter inlet. The patented set-up also includes an anti-suffocation valve that allows patients to continue breathing even if the air and oxygen supply is interrupted. The output air tube can also be fitted with an anti-contamination filter. The components can be printed with different 3D printing plastics, such as PLA o PETG, according to the type of use required (single vs multiple uses), according to their specific characteristics in terms of cost, duration, and sterilization method.
3D models of the developed parts are freely accessible and replicable (see https://github.com/iaslab-unipd/UNIPD-Mask)
Conversion of commercially available snorkeling masks into masks for medical CPAP use, for the treatment of respiratory distress, in case of scarcity of standard medical grade equipment. Advantages:
• UNIPD-Mask avoids pressure drop during inhalation in converted CPAP masks.
• UNIPD-Mask improves the evacuation of exhaled air.
• UNIPD-Mask includes an anti-suffocation valve.
• Anti-contamination filter can be applied to the output.
• UNIPD-Mask can be easily printed in 3D.
• Printing time can be reduced by up to 30% because of the smaller size of the components.

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