Sole US helmet manufacturer can’t keep up with demand
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Sea-Long Medical Systems Inc., a Texas-based manufacturer, is increasing production to meet additional demand for its clear plastic helmets to help COVID-19 patients.
Owner Mr. Christopher Austin said in an interview with Aurika Savickaite that demand for the helmets used to provide noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is very high.
Sea-Long is the only producer of these helmets in the US.
Helmet-based ventilation helps patients in respiratory distress. A clear helmet with a soft collar is fitted over the patient’s head, and air and oxygen are pumped in to help fill the patient’s lungs and keep airways open. A three-year study of ventilation via helmet shows this solution reduces the need for intubation, helps patients get better faster and reduces the mortality rate.
The helmets are particularly helpful with COVID-19 patients because they create a closed system with no or little air leaks.
Additionally, the helmet ventilation system includes antibacterial and antiviral filters. Austin said that by using the NIV helmet, clinicians can keep the virus in the system and filter it out, which means they can be used 100% by patients who have the coronavirus. Helmet ventilation is safer for staff and better for patients.
Austin said the company is increasing production as much as possible, and federal agencies are helping them produce more helmets.
While Sea-Long would like to be able to meet all demands, Austin said his company won’t be able to supply enough helmets, and there will be delays. Other helmet manufacturers in the US make parts for the ventilation systems, but Sea-Long is the only producer of the helmets.