Oxygen Tent Designed From the Heart by Laser Company
Updated: Aug 20
NEW YORK -- As a child, Susan Houde-Walter was groomed to become an artist – until she found she would need to learn physics to make holograms. She fell in love with lasers and optical engineering – and ultimately became the CEO of LMD Power of Light Corp. (“LMD”), a laser manufacturer in Rochester, NY.
LMD has become part of the growing community working together to fight COVID-19. Susan shared the story with the co-founder of the website www.HelmetBasedVentilation.com, Aurika Savickaite.
With LMD based in New York, Susan could attest to the impact COVID-19 had in the state.
“New York was in tough shape. Governor Cuomo got on the news and basically said, ‘any
manufacturers, if you know how to help New York State, contact our office,’” Susan explained. “So we did, and that’s how we got involved.”
The company did their research – starting with information, webinars and videos on
www.HelmetBasedVentilation.com. Inspired by the community of clinicians and industry coming together, the company focused its deep engineering bench and manufacturing know-how on a patientcentric solution. The result is the “Vyatil,” (pronounced vital), a nonpowered oxygen tent.
The process was educational, she said. Perusing the medical literature, they learned about
characteristics that affected COVID-19 patients :
COVID-19 patients fared particularly poorly on mechanical ventilators;
Supplemental oxygen with gentler interventions (nonmechanical) may be more effective at returning people to health;
Proning the patient during treatment -- taking the weight of the heart off the lungs -- seems to be beneficial in quicker recovery;
Hospitalization can be weeks long before a patient is considered recovered; and
If the viral load is reduced, thus reducing the chance of infection, the medical staff can be better protected amid constant exposure.
“All of these points suggested that a nonpowered oxygen tent may help the patient recover and also help protect the medical staff from the pathogen,” Susan said.
Savickaite said another point was that noninvasive ventilation and proning can be used early in the treatment, can provide better outcomes for the patients.
The takeaway – and motivation – was if patients can be kept off mechanical ventilation, it was best for the patient and the medical staff. A lot of resources – i.e. hospital beds and mechanical ventilators -- also are saved by using noninvasive ventilation, the two women agreed.
The effort was a departure from making lasers. “LMD is a laser company,” Susan said, “we had to start with a clean sheet of paper and build our design from the point of view of patient needs.”
Since the patient might be in the Vyatil for an extended period of time, the company emphasized patient comfort and safety.
The Vyatil features a soft tent and a zipper across the top. The zipper allows immediate access for suctioning or other medical interventions, and also allows the patient to open the tent if they get claustrophobic. It was also important that the patient could be comfortably proned for a long period of time.
“We’re using materials that are considered by the FDA to be some of the safest available for medical use, because the patient might be in it for a long time,” Susan said.
LMD does not use latex or even PVCs because they can contain phthalates and dioxins.
“We took all these things to heart when we designed our version,” she said.
The helmet is registered with the FDA as a Class 1 nonpowered oxygen tent, which means it can be used with hospital wall gas or an oxygen tank, she said.
The tent features soft inflatable tent, the zipper, inlet port, outlet port, a hydration port to allow the seal to be held, but lets the patient drink, soft silicone neck seal, and adjustable arm straps. The port positions maximize the mixing of gas inside the tent and minimizing CO2 rebreathing. Also by keeping the ports away from the ears, the noise also is reduced for the patient. The tent also provides lots of room for the patient, along with great visibility for the patient and the medical staff.
“You are the first ones in the US to develop a tent with a zipper,” Savickaite pointed out.
The tent is put on the patient with the zipper open, fitted with a viral filter and PEEP valve, hooked up to the oxygen, and the air is turned on. Once zipped up, the tent is inflated in seconds. The patient, if able, can walk around while wearing the tent.
Savickaite noted the tent is very lightweight, adding to the comfort for the patient. They also collapse flat for easy shipping and storage.
Clinicians have commented favorably on the zipper and the quality of the neck seal.
“We are delighted to get clinicians’ feedback,” Houde-Walter said. “We’re planning on a series of these, so any kind of feedback will be very valuable, especially if it is patient focused – that’s our primary interest.”
LMD is selling the Vyatils – and have set up a special website with videos and downloadable materials, https://www.vyatil.com.
Hands-On Review - VYATIL Oxygen Tent video