Newly Published Free
Correspondence  |   May 2020
Remote Control and Monitoring of GE Aisys Anesthesia Machines Repurposed as Intensive Care Unit Ventilators
Author Notes
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Massachusetts (C.W.C.). cconnor@bwh.harvard.edu
  • (Accepted for publication April 21, 2020.)
    (Accepted for publication April 21, 2020.)×
Article Information
Correspondence
Correspondence   |   May 2020
Remote Control and Monitoring of GE Aisys Anesthesia Machines Repurposed as Intensive Care Unit Ventilators
Anesthesiology Newly Published on May 6, 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003371
Anesthesiology Newly Published on May 6, 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003371
To the Editor:
The requirements of early intubation and prolonged mechanical ventilation in the management of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) capacity and ventilators. Operating rooms and anesthesia machines1  are being repurposed to care for these critically ill patients. Certain ICU ventilators, such as the Hamilton G5 (Hamilton Medical AG, Switzerland), permit their control monitor to be detached from the ventilator and extended outside the room on an umbilical electrical cable, which allows “frequent ventilator adjustments while simultaneously decreasing the risk of exposure to staff.”2  Although no studies have examined effects on clinical outcomes, the pragmatic benefits are evident: ICU staff need not be continuously present in the patient’s room, nor frequently don and doff scarce personal protective equipment to perform alarm checks and setting changes.
In light of this public health crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance that anesthesia machine device modifications may be made that do not create undue risk.3  We now describe a novel, inexpensive modification to add umbilical cabling to GE Aisys and Aisys CS2 anesthesia machines (GE Healthcare, USA), allowing the same advantageous remote control and monitoring of ventilation.
The Aisys display unit control panel is anchored to a mounting plate on the boom arm by four small bolts (fig. 1, left). Three cables attach to the control panel, marked A, B, and C in figure 1 and inset. Loosening these bolts and cables allows the control panel to be detached. A is a DB15/male cable, which communicates with the electronic medical record. B is an HD26/male cable, which carries ventilator signals and data. C is a DB15/female cable, which provides system power.4  We have added and tested 50-foot extensions to cables A, B, and C, permitting the detached control panel to be repositioned outside the operating room. Figure 1 (right) shows the remote control and monitoring of the ventilation of a mannequin within an operating room converted for ICU care. The cable extensions used were Amphenol Corporation 2 × Part #CS-DSDMDB15MF for A and C, and Part #CS-DSDHD26MF0 for B (Amphenol Cables On Demand, USA). When the anesthesia machine is returned to normal service, removing these extensions reverts the machine to its original configuration without a trace.
Fig. 1.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
Fig. 1.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
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When properly coupled with supplied locking screws, accidental cable disconnection is extremely rare. If A becomes disconnected, data will not stream to the electronic medical record, and A should be reconnected. If B becomes disconnected, the control panel will display a system malfunction screen (fig. 2) and alarm audibly. If C becomes disconnected, the control panel will power down abruptly, and audible machine alarms will sound. To restart ventilator operation after disconnection of B or C, power down, reconnect the cable, and power up while manually ventilating as shown.
Fig. 2.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
Fig. 2.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
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This modification allows anesthesiologists to interpret ventilator waveforms, adjust ventilation settings, ensure lung protective ventilation, and hear alarms at all times freely from outside the operating room. Personnel exposure and use of personal protective equipment are reduced, as anesthesiologists no longer need to enter the room for these frequent tasks. This modification can be performed without special tools or skills in 5 to 10 min.
Acknowledgments
The authors acknowledge the extraordinary, professional support of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Clinical Bioengineering Service, Boston, Massachusetts.
Research Support
Support was provided by National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland) grant No. R01 GM121457 and from institutional and/or departmental sources.
Competing Interests
Dr. Connor is a consultant for Teleflex, LLC (Wayne, Pennsylvania) on airway equipment design. This activity is unrelated to the material in this letter. The other authors declare no competing interests.
References
American Society of Anesthesiologists, APSF/ASA Guidance on Purposing Anesthesia Machines as ICU Ventilators, April 9, 2020. Available at: https://www.asahq.org/in-the-spotlight/coronavirus-covid-19-information/purposing-anesthesia-machines-for-ventilators. Accessed April 12, 2020.
Anesi, GL. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Critical care issues. UpToDate (Topic 127419 Version 18.0), April 10, 2020. Available at: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-critical-care-issues. Accessed April 12, 2020.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Ventilator supply mitigation strategies: Letter to health care providers. March 22, 2020. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/letters-health-care-providers/ventilator-supply-mitigation-strategies-letter-health-care-providers. Accessed April 12, 2020.
Datex-Ohmeda (GE Healthcare) Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual Madison, Wisconsin Part Number M1046983, May 2005
Fig. 1.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
Fig. 1.
Remote placement of the GE Aisys display unit control panel. The modification steps are highlighted at left, with inset engineering drawings modified from the Aisys Anesthesia Machine Technical Reference Manual. At right, an Aisys control panel is shown relocated outside of an operating room repurposed as an intensive care unit bay. The rectangular highlight indicates the original position of the control panel before detachment from the anesthesia machine.
×
Fig. 2.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
Fig. 2.
In the unlikely event of a disconnection of cable B (the System Signal Interface cable), a system malfunction message appears on the Aisys control panel screen. The machine must be powered down, the cable connection re-established, and the machine powered up again in order to resume mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile, the patient must be maintained with fresh gas from the Alternate O2 Control and manual/spontaneous ventilation as illustrated on the error screen.
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