Loughborough student helps design ‘lifesaving’ NHS hood

Date posted: May 4, 2021
a box containing a nhs hood

A third-year Loughborough University student has helped develop a ventilation product for coronavirus patients in intensive care.

Dominic Leatherland, a Product Design and Technology student who completed an industrial placement at Avon Protection, a leading manufacturer of respiratory and ballistic protection says the HCH-40 ‘Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)’ hood has the potential to “be a lifesaving product”.

Avon Protection was approached by the University College London and asked to create a hood that would help with the shortage of ventilators and medical equipment in hospitals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the struggle to keep up with the demand for oxygen.

Typically, patients have oxygen therapy delivered by a nose cup mask, a method that is said to waste large quantities of oxygen, and patients with severe symptoms are induced into an artificial coma and a ventilator takes over the patients breathing.

Working with Avon Protection Senior Design Engineer, Nick Hunter, Dominic helped develop the HCH-40 hood, which aims to provide an alternative to invasive ventilation methods.

The hood benefits patients with Covid-19 as it combines assisted breathing and oxygen therapy. It uses a ventilator to pressurise the hood with varying levels of oxygen-rich air, depending on the breathing needs of the patient.

The positive pressure inside the hood space pushes the oxygen-rich air into the patient’s lungs, significantly reducing the effort required to inhale.

The Loughborough student was involved in HCH-40 designing, prototyping, and testing which involved conducting trials on healthy patients at University College London Hospital.

Since being granted approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the hoods have been manufactured and distributed to various NHS Trusts.

Of the process and result, Dominic said:

“To take a product from initial concept to manufacture in three months was truly amazing for myself and the business, let alone one of such importance at a time of global desperation.”

“I hope the HCH-40 will provide those hospitalised due to COVID-19 with an alternative, less invasive and more effective treatment plan.”

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