Background: We assessed the use of an FDA-cleared transport ventilator with limited functions and settings during ground transport in a swine model of ground evacuation. We hypothesized that when used as an adjunct to extracorporeal life support (ECLS), the device would enable safe mobile ventilatory support during ground evacuation.
Methods: Female Yorkshire swine (n = 11; mean, 52.4 ± 1.3 kg) were sedated and anesthetized and received mechanical ventilation (MV) with a standard intensive care unit (ICU) ventilator and were transitioned to the Simplified Automated Ventilator II (SAVe II; AutoMedx) during ground transport. MV served as an adjunct to ECLS in all animals. Ventilator performance was assessed in the uninjured state on day 1 and after bilateral pulmonary contusion on day 2. Data were collected pre- and post-transport on both days.
Results: During 33 transports, the SAVe II provided similar ventilation support as the ICU ventilator. Mean total transport time was 38.8 ± 2.1 minutes. The peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) limit was the only variable to show consistent differences pre- and post-transport and between ventilators. No adverse events occurred.
Conclusion: As an adjunctive supportive device during ground transport, the SAVe II performed adequately without failure or degradation in subject status. Further testing is warranted to elucidate the clinical limits of this device during standalone use.