Diving masks repurposed for ventilators in French hospitals

At the Ambroise Pare clinic in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, doctors have repurposed the snorkelling gear by adding a 3D-printed apparatus that separates incoming and outgoing air from ventilators.

Clinic doctor Pierre Squara said the idea came from Italy, where hospitals have been using the mask to improve ventilators' continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

"It can be a way to save up on tubes," Squara told Reuters, explaining that patients who have difficulty breathing but with less severe forms of COVID-19 could avoid intubation and be accommodated with lighter ventilator models through the repurposed diving masks.

The masks, dubbed the Easybreath model, were produced by French sports equipment giant Decathlon.

Decathlon has so far donated its stock of 30,000 diving masks to health personnel in France, as well as 30,000 more to hospitals in Spain and 10,000 in Italy.

Video Transcript

PIERRE SQUARA: [SPEAKING FRENCH].

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PIERRE SQUARA: [SPEAKING FRENCH]?

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PIERRE SQUARA: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: The Italians had the idea to use this to improve the efficiency of positive airway pressure, so we did the same thing here. We've got a surgeon here who invented and made, through 3D printing, a material that allows us to separate the evacuation into two tubes-- one tube for incoming air and one tube for evacuated air. And so, this diving mask is now transformed into a ventilator mask in intensive care units.