KIGALI, RWANDA—This week, at the African Conference on Emergency Medicine, Gradian Health Systems launched our second product: the Gradian Comprehensive Care Ventilator (CCV)—an internationally-certified portable ventilator designed to deliver automatic ventilation in challenging clinical settings. With up to 21 hours of battery backup, connectors for nearly any oxygen source, and configurations for hospital-based care and emergency transport, the CCV is an ideal ventilation solution for low-resource health systems.
What’s the Problem?
An estimated 287 million people in sub-Saharan Africa—roughly a third of the population—live more than two hours from emergency medical care*. As a result, routine emergencies like childbirth complications or road accidents lead to preventable death and disability on a continental scale. Experts estimate that improving the quality, access, efficiency, and administration of timely emergency service could lead to a 45% reduction in death and a 36% reduction in disability in low- and middle-income countries.
According to the African Journal of Emergency Medicine, “basic, effective airway management and respiratory support are essential elements of emergency care,” and can be facilitated with automatic ventilation, which keeps critically-ill patients breathing long enough to reach the care they need. However, automatic ventilation is hard to come by in environments facing unreliable electricity and oxygen supply, understaffed wards, under-equipped emergency transport options, and inadequate medical devices.
What’s Our Solution?
Enter: the Gradian CCV. Designed and produced under FDA clearance and CE certification by our manufacturing partner in the U.S., the CCV has been adapted for clinical use in countries with limited or unreliable infrastructure. Now, we’re teaming up with local distributors in more than a dozen markets to make the technology available to health providers and facilities that need it—always at an affordable price that includes user training and a three-year service warranty.
Why Is It Different?
The Gradian CCV is a portable automatic ventilator with a handful of key benefits relative to other products—particularly those on the market in resource-limited settings.
- Combining in-built and external batteries, the CCV can run for up to 21 hours without electricity.
- It can be used with both low- and high-flow oxygen sources, including concentrators, cylinders, pipelines, and flowmeters. It also has an in-built compressor to draw in and deliver room air when compressed air is unavailable.
- The CCV has a straightforward interface with easily-programmable ventilation modes, including volume and pressure AC and SIMV, CPAP, and BiPAP.
- It was designed to withstand shock, water, vibration, dust, and voltage fluctuations—all of which can inhibit automatic ventilation in low-resource settings.
Given the CCV’s range of functions and features, it has the potential to be deployed for a variety of clinical uses and settings. It is currently available in configurations for bedside care (in ICUs, recovery rooms, emergency departments, etc.), intra-hospital transfers, and emergency or ambulance transport.
For the past 18 months, Gradian has been field testing the CCV in a handful of referral hospitals in East and West Africa to better understand its clinical and technological use profile in a range of settings. During that time, we have also certified clinical trainers in nearly 10 countries and trained local technicians in those regions to service it. Now, we’re ready to market, distribute, and support the CCV around the world.
Over the next few months, our distributors will be taking the CCV to market, leveraging their infrastructure, personnel, and local expertise built for Gradian’s UAM to get the CCV in the hands of doctors and nurses on the front lines of emergency care. And we’re excited to roll out a new training model for our users. Together with academic and clinical partners from the U.S. and Africa, we have created a training curriculum that combines high-fidelity simulation with cadre-specific modules to teach users how to operate the CCV and refresh core techniques needed to ventilate critically-ill patients.
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*Defined by the African Federation of Emergency Medicine as: “The provision of initial resuscitation, stabilization, and treatment to acutely ill and injured patients, and delivery of those patients to the best available definitive care, regardless of their ability to pay.”