The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), is a professional association for anaesthetists in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was founded by Dr Henry Featherstone in 1932, when GPs gave most anaesthetics in the UK and Ireland as a sideline. Times have fortunately changed! It instigated the founding of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and subsequently the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland. The AAGBI adopted the motto in somno securitas (safe in sleep), which is a particularly relevant motto to the Exovent team as we wish to ventilate patients safely without putting them to sleep! The AAGBI office is located in Portland Place in the centre of London. Dr. Jim Roberts was invited to lecture there and represent the Exovent team on Tuesday June 6th in the evening. Jim chose the title “Viruses and Ventilators: how bugs drove the evolution of ventilators” Jim’s lecture covered an excellent overview of the Exovent development, the Exovent team and the formation of our charity. He clearly explained how Exovent differs from other forms of Noninvasive Ventilation and Positive Pressure Ventilation. Notably the lack of lung damage which Negative Pressure Ventilation produces. Jim showed examples of the severe pathological changes in the lungs of patients who had died from COVID-19. Jim explained how the use of positive pressure devices had begun in the 1950’s during the polio epidemics and the history of ventilator support up to the present day and during the COVID-19 pandemic. He showed a picture of his colleague, Dr. Jim Down’s, excellent book “Life Support” which graphically describes life in the ITU at UCLH, London, during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. A fascinating and very informative read. Jim additionally carefully explained our medical goals in the continuing development of Exovent, our initial healthy human trials, and the areas in paediatric life support where negative pressure devices continue to be used. Finally Jim described the continuing work with our brilliant industrial partners at Portsmouth Aviation. Craig Spring and the whole team at Portsmouth continue to relentlessly support the project and improve the device. Craig had kindly delivered the Exovent into the AAGBI centre. A new NIHR grant application, led by Craig and his team of co-applicants, has just been submitted. Following Jim’s superb lecture we carried out a demonstration of the Exovent with additional help from Professor Anil Patel and Dr Paulo Perella, anaesthetists of the Exovent team, and the wonderful nursing/respiratory team from UCLH. This was very enjoyable with all those who attended being very keen to be ventilated in the Exovent to experience its relaxed and enjoyable comfort! We could have stayed at the centre all night, such was the enthusiasm, but after two hours we had to leave. There will be many more opportunities and demonstrations.
David Howard, on behalf of the Exovent Team.
The full presentation can be found here :- Viruses and Ventilators