Evaluation of a Low-Cost Bubble CPAP System Designed for Resource-Limited Settings

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Respiratory Care
Respiratory compromise is a leading contributor to global neonatal death. CPAP is a method of treatment that helps maintain lung volume during expiration, promotes comfortable breathing, and improves oxygenation. Bubble CPAP is an effective alternative to standard CPAP. We sought to determine the reliability and functionality of a low-cost bubble CPAP device designed for low-resource settings. METHODS: The low-cost bubble CPAP device was compared to a commercially available bubble CPAP system. The devices were connected to a lung simulator that simulated neonates of 4 different weights with compromised respiratory mechanics ( 1, 3, 5, and 10 kg). The devices’ abilities to establish and maintain pressure and flow under normal conditions as well as under conditions of leak were compared. Multiple combinations of pressure levels (5, 8, and 10 cm H2O) and flow levels (3, 6, and 10 L/min) were tested. The endurance of both devices was also tested by running the systems continuously for 8 h and measuring the changes in pressure and flow. RESULTS: Both devices performed equivalently during the no-leak and leak trials. While our testing revealed individual differences that were statistically significant and clinically important (>10% difference) within specific CPAP and flow-level settings, no overall comparisons of CPAP or flow were both statistically significant and clinically important. Each device delivered pressures similar to the desired pressures, although the flows delivered by both machines were lower than the set flows in most trials. During the endurance trials, the low-cost device was marginally better at maintaining pressure, while the commercially available device was better at maintaining flow. CONCLUSIONS: The low-cost bubble CPAP device evaluated in this study is comparable to a bubble CPAP system used in developed settings. Extensive clinical trials, however, are necessary to confirm its effectiveness.
CPAP, BubbleCPAP, Respiratory distress, Low-resource settings, Uganda, Neonates
Bennett, D. J., Carroll, R. W., & Kacmarek, R. M. (2018). Evaluation of a low-cost bubble CPAP system designed for resource-limited settings. Respiratory Care, 63(4), 395-403. Doi: 10.4187/respcare.05762