by Alex Gregory
Global medical vacuum manufacturer Medela announced this week that it has launched a new line of suction pumps that can aid with crucial functions during respiratory treatment.
The manufacturer, which runs a warehouse and service facility in Mississauga, said Monday that it will begin producing 10,000 units beginning next month to help meed the needs of hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout North America during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labeled the “Vario 18 AC”, the new line of suction pumps will provide much-needed functions during respiratory treatment, including fluid removal, portable suction and utilize a disposable virus filter and filtration system to protect patients during procedures.
The units will be built at the company’s American headquarters in McHenry, Illinois, and adhere to new guidelines issued by the National Health Service (NHS1) that hospitals should not use piped vacuum to support infectious disease units (IDU) to reduce the risk of cross-contamination through patients.
According to recent figures provided by the John Hopkins Facility of Medicine, approximately 60,000 COVID-19 sufferers having received ventilator support in the U.S. to date, requiring the need for accompanying suction pump equipment to remove lung secretions generated by the virus.
“Now is the time to assess what we have learned from this healthcare crisis so far, so we can better support hospitals and clinicians by providing the right equipment to aid in recovery and preparedness for any potential resurgence in the fall,” said Medela Americas’ executive vice-president, Melissa Gonzales. “The importance of portable suction not tied to central wall vacuum sources is critical. Coronavirus patients experience fluid pooling in the lungs and pairing ventilators with portable suction technology is crucial to ensuring pulmonary hygiene to support patient care and recovery.”
The suction pump is one of several such devices the company manufacturers, with demand ramping up due to the ongoing pandemic.
To date, the Vario 18 AC has only been manufactured in Switzerland, and widely used in Europe.
“We saw the needs of hospitals across the globe and began efforts to ramp up production already in March,” said Annette Brüls, chief executive officer of Medela worldwide. “However, the demand continues to outpace our capacity by far. This is why we decided to build this additional production line in the United States to help address the coronavirus pandemic in North America.”