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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

How many mechanical ventilators are there in the United States?

Published August 21, 2009 9:41 AM by Vern Enge
How many mechanical ventilators are there in the United States? That's the burning question the The U.S. Department of Health and Human and the American Association for Respiratory Care hope to solve in the days ahead.

HSS has asked the AARC to tally the inventory of mechanical ventilators in all of the nation's hospitals.

The Office of Preparedness and Response is urgently requesting this inventory as the nation braces for the H1N1 virus expected to impact a record number of Americans starting this fall. Initial experience shows that many individuals are placed on ventilators as a result of this flu.

With no accurate current accounting of the ventilators that would be available during a nationwide pandemic, the government is asking the AARC to immediately assist in performing a survey inventory.

All information will be kept in confidence and will not be available through the Freedom of Information Act later. No relocation of ventilators will be performed; the information is sought so that the government can acquire or assist in augmenting current ventilator capacity.

Information on filling out the surveys has been sent to each hospital in the U.S., addressed to the Manager of Respiratory Care.

"We are urging all hospitals to immediately begin this survey," noted Timothy Myers, AARC president, in a press release. Time is of prime importance, and respiratory care leaders hope to have the information in about two weeks.

"We hope to have this data gathered by Sept. 10," Myers explained. "There is an urgency to the effort."

For the project to be successful every ventilator, even some of the older models typically not in use but serviceable, must be counted.

Take the survey and access more information on the project here.

posted by Vern Enge

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