UNS Manufactures Nasal Cannulas for COVID-19 Patients

The Faculty of Engineering of Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) produces nasal cannula for COVID-19 patients at dr. Moewardi Hospital, Surakarta. A nasal cannula is a device used to deliver supplemental oxygen to a patient or person in need of respiratory help. The production of the nasal cannula is conducted as a collaboration between the Vibration Laboratory of the Mechanical Engineering Department and dr. Moewardi Hospital. The nasal cannula is produced using a 3D printer. The production team is led by Ubaidillah, Ph.D. who works together with Dr. Eng. Aditya Rio Prabowo, Didik Djoko Susilo, Wibowo, and Dharu Feby Smaradhana.

Ubaidillah said, dr. Moewardi Hospital is overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and as a result, there is a shortage of high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC), the tubes needed to give patients oxygen. In addition, dr. Moewardi Hospital is currently facing a problem in the limited supply of nasal cannula components due to high demand.

“The hospital is struggling in treating patients because the number of medical devices available does not meet the demand of COVID-19 patients who are being treated,” said Ubaidillah He added, in treating COVID-19 patients, HFNC is used as a tool to deliver supplemental oxygen or increased airflow with a flow rate of approximately 30-90 L/min.

“Regular nasal cannulas cannot be used for flow rates of 30-90 L/min. Based on the results of HFNC flow rate simulation using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, it is found that the velocity and pressure at the two outlets have different values,” he explained.

Ubaidillah explained that the production process carried out by his team was able to cope with the problem by manufacturing nasal cannulas using the plastic injection molding technique. With this technique, the team can produce a large number of nasal cannulas in a relatively shorter time.

“One of the advantages of using the molding technique is that the nasal cannulas produced can be used not only for COVID-19 patients, but also for patients who are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, restrictive thoracic diseases, obesity hypoventilation syndrome 5, chest wall deformities, neuromuscular diseases, and decompensated obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, with the molding of nasal cannula, the production process can be enhanced and the number of products that could be manufactured will increase,” he concluded.