Portable Patient Ventilator for anesthetizing patients in intensive care units


Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the University at Buffalo


Bradley Fuhrman, MD, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences professor of pediatrics and anesthesiology and chief of critical care at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and Mark Dowhy, director of the Pediatric Critical Care Laboratory in the Department of Pediatrics


UB researchers designed a portable patient ventilator that delivers small amounts of powerful inhalation anesthetic agents to patients in intensive care units (ICUs) as they breathe or are mechanically ventilated. Patients are deeply enough sedated so they’re unaware of pain but not so deeply that they experience withdrawal symptoms once they’re no longer sedated. The device works as effectively as anesthesia in the operating room, but without the expensive equipment and monitoring requirements. A key advantage of anesthesia delivered through the lung over intravenous sedation is that it has a much more rapid onset of effect and much quicker reversal once it’s removed. This is an especially important consideration in patients who need to be frequently or abruptly awakened, such as children who have suffered trauma to the skull. The device also has promising applications in treating large numbers of patients during pandemics or other events with mass casualties because it can safely enable multiple patients to share a single ventilator.


The device was presented at the 2008 World’s Best Technologies Showcase, and Dr. Fuhrman and Mr. Dowhy received the UB Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for it. UB licensed the technology to Medical Conservation Devices (MCD) of Buffalo, founded by both inventors and located in UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.