Rapidly Deployable Breast Pump Ventilator to Combat Coronavirus

The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science


A simple, bare bones ventilator using parts that are readily available at a total cost of ~$300. The heart of the system is a widely used breast pump with the airflow reversed. We believe that there are thousands of these in dresser drawers and closets across the country that are not being used which can be used to complement new machines currently in the supply chain.

Health Social Services
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Background and Motivation

Rationale for this approach: • Manufacturing of breast pump systems has not been specifically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis • The technology behind pump systems has been previously approved for use in medical and home environments and the closed-loop compressor within the pump is not easily contaminated • Repeated use of the pump-system is possible with use of disposable tubing and filters • The basic tubing used in breast pump systems is the same gauge used with current oxygen masks • The proven ease of use will ensure short training time and the ability to be run by a single operator • Specific system manufacturing is not required; the mechanical system is comprised of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products or with simple modifications to COTS products • Breast pump systems are readily available and deployment of previously-used breast pump systems could be considered as a rapid deployment strategy with individual use disposable tubing/connections

Project Description

Models that demonstrate that the concept is operational have been constructed and the development team is making straight forward modifications to increase the ease of deployment. This will be followed by demonstration that the unit functions as expected on humans. Instructional video to guide the needed modifications of the breast pumps and assembly of the other individual parts to create the functioning unit are available.

Intended Impact

Currently, GW Hospital does not need additional ventilators, but we know ventilator availability across the country likely does not meet the need. The impact of this project would be great if we can provide additional ventilator capacity for the region.

Internal Stakeholders


Currently searching for a GW partner to coordinate efforts.

Internal People Available During the Project

Start date: April 9, 2020
End date: Aug. 28, 2020
  • No volunteers in this project yet.

Project tasks

Project scoping 0