March 30, 2006
Tulane University biomedical engineering professor Donald Gaver has received a four-year $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to determine what rate of air flow from ventilators is the least likely to cause damage to lung tissue.
Ventilators are machines that help seriously ill patients breath by blowing air into their lungs via a tube placed in the mouth or a surgical hole in the windpipe. It has recently been established that conventional ventilator settings can overstretch the lung, while low-volume ventilation methods can damage tissue from micro-mechanical forces that push on tissues as a finger of air opens collapsed airways to allow the free passage of air.
This grant will allow Gaver, who is also the director of Tulane's Center for Computational Science, use computer simulation tied to experiments to predict low-volume ventilation breathing patterns that can protect the lung from damage. Gaver will conduct air flow experiments on actual tissue in collaboration with biomedical engineering professor Darryl Overby.
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