|The critical care field has seen many exciting developments in recent years, according to Gary Calvaneso, vice president of marketing for VIASYS Healthcare Incs Critical Care Division, Palm Springs, Calif. RT spoke with Calvaneso about the fields growth and how its changes are reflected in the companys products.
Q: What are the most significant recent advancements in the critical care field?
A: In ventilation, we have seen the growth of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation in adult patients. This exciting new technology is demonstrating great promise as the ultimate lung protective strategy for patients with a variety of acute lung diseases. Recent developments in noninvasive respiratory support for infants have taken us a long way from conventional nasal CPAP systems. New products are allowing the tiniest of babies to be supported without the need for an endotracheal tube and, in some cases, even without nasal prongs. Finally, the use of nitric oxide continues to grow.
Q: What are the most important elements respiratory therapists should look for in a critical care ventilator?
A: We believe the most important aspects are user interface, customer education, and low cost of ownership. The current trend of downsizing departments causes a significant increase in the workload of each respiratory therapist. In order to cope with this high-stress environment, RTs need products that feature an easy-to-navigate, intuitive user interface. Staff reductions also mean that there are fewer internal resources available for education and competency training. VIASYS has created an education team whose sole focus is customer education and support after purchase. In addition to staffing limitations, most departments need to keep a close eye on operating expenses. Evaluating the cost of ownership of any new product will help assure the financial health of the institution.
Q: What new developments in critical care do you foresee, and how does VIASYS plan to respond?
A: There are several new trends in critical care ventilation that we are currently addressing. The first is to simplify and standardize a common user interface. This minimizes training time and potentially reduces operator error. Our two newest ventilators, the AVEA and Vela, feature common user interfaces and nomenclature, allowing a customer who has been trained on one product to comfortably operate the other.
The second is the growing need for wall independence in critical care platforms to facilitate intrafacility transport of patients. Both of these VIASYS products feature a unique compressor technology that operates on the ventilators battery power supply, allowing patient transport within the facility without the need for an external compressed air supply.
A third development is growth in the use of heliox for clinical applications. Although this treatment strategy dates back to the 1930s, there have been no critical care ventilators specifically designed to deliver these types of gas mixtures until the introduction of our AVEA product.
Finally, the use of hospital-based information systems is rapidly expanding. Our newer ventilator platforms incorporate data outputs, which provide information on all settings, monitored parameters, and alarm conditions.