Armstrong Medical anticipating global demand for life-support ventilation device

Dr Ciarán Magee from Armstrong Medical; Dr Thomas Dooher, Ulster University; Dr Dorian Dixon, Ulster University; Dr Oonagh Lynch, NWCAM; and Jawad Ullah, Ulster University, at Armstrong Medical’s headquarters in Coleraine.

A COLERAINE-based medical firm's innovative breathing device, that helped alleviate pressures for equipment during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has now been launched commercially.

Armstrong Medical initially launched the respiratory breathing circuit for life support ventilation just prior to the WHO's declaration of the global coronavirus pandemic last year.

Developed in collaboration with Ulster University through the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NWCAM), AquaVENT VT harnessed the research to develop a novel method of production of tubing used to create a ‘breathable' expiratory limb.

NWCAM is funded by the EU and delivered in partnership with Catalyst, the north's science and technology innovation hub.

The Coleraine company, which was acquired by the Eakin Healthcare Group last year, said the research significantly helped reduce the risks associated with pooling of condensed water vapour in tubing.

The innovative step also minimised the interference by moisture on sensitive electronics on ventilators to relieve hospital caregivers of some aspects of the continuous monitoring of the equipment in use.

The product has been used in a number of countries and helped to alleviate pressures for equipment during the Covid-19 crisis.

Dr Ciarán Magee, Armstrong Medical's technical director, said: “The introduction of this superior product will add significant value to Armstrong's expanding portfolio of pioneering products to ensure improved patient outcomes in a critical illness setting.

“The new product allows us to focus on the area of life-support ventilation for adult, paediatric and neonatal patients. We expect demand to increase in coming months, particularly in emerging markets.”

Dr Dorian Dixon and his team collaborated with Armstrong Medical in developing and testing a new polymer formulation for the expiratory limb of their ventilation tubing.

“It has been very rewarding to work with Armstrong Medical on this technically challenging project and great to see the product successfully launched on to the market,” he said.

Fergal Cosgrave from Ulster University added: “The Ulster University team are thrilled that they have been able to help Armstrong Medical save time and money by bringing their R&D expertise to the production of a new product that solves a big problem and ultimately improves its life saving breathing circuits for the benefit of patients around the world.”

NWCAM innovation broker, Dr Oonagh Lynch, said: “The collaboration between Armstrong Medical and Ulster University through NWCAM has created real value and competitive advantage for the company.

“Armstrong Medical creates products that play a key part in life-saving treatment of very sick patients and it is very rewarding for us to see them improving outcomes and saving lives through their involvement with the NWCAM partnership.

“Giving innovative companies access to academic expertise within universities and research institutes has been a key goal of NWCAM and we look forward to announcing similar successes in some of our other projects throughout the year.”

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