Breathing Device for Premature Infants Targets Needy Countries

Stephen John (right) and Joseph Barnett (left) from Western Michigan University both created a simple oscillatory relief valve for dual pressure lung treatment.

Stephen John and Joseph Barnett, two engineering students at Western Michigan University (WMU), invented the NeoVent, an easy-to-operate dual-pressure device aimed at helping premature babies breathe.

The NeoVent consists of an innovative oscillatory relief valve, and is driven by excess air generated by the CPAP machine. Air at a constant pressure is transported from the CPAP machine to the child’s airway via a tube. As shown in the patent sketch, the tube bifurcates, continuing past the airway to bring any excess air to the NeoVent.