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Results of National Ventilator Study Published in Peer-Reviewed Journal

October 18, 2010

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A paper detailing the information and conclusions of last year’s National Ventilator Survey has been published in a peer-reviewed publication for disaster planning professionals.

The paper, authored by Dr. Louis Rubinson and AARC representatives including Steve Nelson, Sam Giordano, Tom Kallstrom, Tim Buckley, and Richard Branson, appears in the October 2010 issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

The paper presents findings gathered by AARC volunteers in last year’s National Ventilator Survey. The Association sought to do a census of all ventilators in the country and did manage to attain a 75% response rate. The AARC was commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services to perform the study.

“This was a collaborative effort among the AARC, our state societies, and members across the country.” said Tom Kallstrom, AARC Chief Operating Officer. “This collective energy assured the very high rate of response we got on the survey.” 

The purpose of the project was to identify the number of ventilators in this country so that our nation might be prepared for a surge in demand of equipment in case of a national health emergency. These ventilators available in the hospital would be counted along with those ready for deployment in our Strategic National Stockpile. 

Each hospital in the U.S. was asked to report on the number and kind of ventilators they had in stock. Ventilators were categorized as adult or pediatric equipment. Follow-up to non-responding hospitals by AARC volunteers in each state provided a high response rate for the survey.

Among other information included in the article in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness is:

  • 5752 acute care hospitals were surveyed.
  • It is estimated that 62,188 full feature mechanical ventilators are in U.S. hospitals.
  • It is estimated that there are 98,738 devices other than full feature ventilators.
  • 46.4% are pediatric/neonatal compatible.
  • The number of mechanical ventilators per U.S. population exceeds those reported by other developed countries, but there is wide variation across states in the population-adjusted supply.
  • There are considerably more pediatric-capable ventilators than there are for adults only on a population-adjusted basis.