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  • Writer's pictureAurika Savickaite

Funding for Helmet-Based Ventilation Helps Clinicians Save Lives

12/22/2022 Chicago serves as a resource to promote this type of technology as an early intervention that can reduce the time and severity of respiratory distress. This work is indebted to the Oregon State University Fast Response Respiration (OFRR) and its team: John Selker PhD, Frank Selker, Mark Johnson PhD, and Ted Selker PhD; and my husband David Lukauskas.

“OFRR support for the helmet-based ventilation initiative has enabled us to spread the awareness of this method for treating respiratory distress around the world,” said website co-founder Aurika Savickaite, MSN, RN "thanks to support, enouragment and help from Ted Selker PhD a colleague at OFRR, I was able to continue my work and grow as an expert in this field"

Helmet use in the US was proposed when ventilators were in high demand during peak COVID hospitalizations. Helmets interface can be used with BIPAP/CPAP machines or wall gases, saving ventilators for patients who are much sicker. To help the medical community around the world, Savickaite developed a four-hour training course for clinicians to learn how to use helmets.

Video from the Helmet-based ventilation training course - Solutions for Ear pressure

Savickaite and experts Dr. Bhakti Patel, Dr. John P. Kress, Dr. Jesse Hall, Dr. Maurizio Cereda, and Dr. Giacomo Bellani offered feedback and suggestions to the World Health Organization, which included helmet use for non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) in its 2022 WHO Clinical Care for Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Toolkit. It was the first time WHO addressed helmets in addition to face masks in its recommendations.

Helmet Interface in WHO Clinical Care for Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Toolkit 2022

“This session brought together clinical experts from around the world to discuss the clinical management of critical patients and covered recognition of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), use of NIPPV, optimized supportive care, prevention of complications, and patient-centered care,” Savickaite said.

Helmets have been used for more than 20 years in some countries, such as Italy and the UK where they are common in hospitals and ambulances when patients are in respiratory distress. In 2021 Savickaite visited helmet manufacturers DIMAR, Harol, and StarMed, in Italy and this year the world’s largest manufacturer, Intersurgical, in the United Kingdom and its plant in Lithuania. Intersurgical purchased Italian StarMed, and it has encouraged StarMed to grow and improve its helmets.

Aurika Savickaite with Sigita Zvirblis and Daiva Simkute at Intersurgical, Visaginas, Lithuania 2022

Cooperation with helmet manufacturers, non-governmental organizations, and volunteers resulted in 364 StarMed, 80 US-made Sea-Long, and over 400 Subsalve helmets being sent to multiple hospitals devastated by war in the Lviv and Kharkiv regions of Ukraine.

In November 2022, Savickaite presented helmets at ANZICS ’22 (Australia New Zealand Intensive Care Society) conference in Dunedin, NZ. During the trip, Savickaite visited ICUs and meet clinicians on-site to share her experience with helmet-based ventilation. She also spent time with the SouthMed team who developed Suzy Hood in NZ.

“We also have worked with the Every Breath Counts Coalition, having multiple conversations with them, preparing presentation materials, and presenting together to humanitarian agencies including WHO,” Savickaite said.

Every Breath Counts Coalition led by Leith Greenslade is the world’s first public-private partnership to support national governments to end pneumonia deaths by 2030, which has an ambitious goal: to reduce the number of children and adults dying from pneumonia by closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

The website,, continues to raise awareness as Savickaite participates in interviews for podcasts, video recordings, and blogs. An ever-growing audience helps expand the message about helmet-based ventilation, particularly in the United States where helmet use is relatively new.

Special thanks to Dr. John P. Kress and Dr. Bhakti Patel from the University of Chicago; Viktorija Trimbel, Finance & Governance expert; Raminta Lilaite, Kristina Skindelytė, and Ieva Mackevičiūtė from Blue Oceans PR.

We are incredibly grateful for your time and dedication to help us with our work since day one. Your willingness to offer your expertise and guidance has been invaluable, and we are deeply appreciative of your hard work and generosity. We truly could not have done it without you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you know just how much your contribution has meant to us.

"We are always looking for your support and today we need it more than ever to continue our mission. If helmets will not be adopted in our Hospitals - we will have 20-30% more patients on mechanical ventilation" Savickaite said.

Continued funding for the website will allow Savickaite and her team to further spread the message of helmet use around the globe through subscribers and shared information. To learn how to help support this goal, go to:


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