As Diamedica steps into 2018, making some exciting new improvements to the already renowned Glostavent® we bring you a recap into the origins of this life saving machine.
The Glostavent® Helix as it Stands Today
With more than two decades of research and development, 2018 brought with it, some exciting new features to the Glostavent® Helix. The CE Certified machine now has an integral 10 LPM oxygen concentrator and an extended 30 minute battery life UPS (uninterrupted power supply).
These are just two of the new changes that make the new Glostavent® Helix Diamedica’s most reliable and sustainable anaesthesia machine yet.
| He quickly identified a lack of oxygen and unreliable electricity supplies as major obstacles to safe surgery
The Glostavent® has been enabling safe surgery for more than two decades, with thanks to world renowned anaesthetist, Dr Roger Eltringham. In 1985, Roger, a determined young anaesthetist, was asked to visit Ghana to assess the challenges associated with providing safe anaesthesia and surgery. He was also asked to find solutions to overcome these problems.
He quickly identified a lack of oxygen and unreliable electricity supplies as major obstacles to safe surgery.
Unique Design Concept
| Almost by accident we realised that we had created an anaesthetic machine that could continue to function even if the supplies of oxygen, or electricity – or both – failed
A colleague, Dr Andrei Varvinski, suggested an oxygen concentrator would be useful in producing oxygen locally instead of relying on cylinders, and between them, the two unwittingly invented the first model of the Glostavent®.
Roger said: “Almost by accident we realised that we had created an anaesthetic machine that could continue to function even if the supplies of oxygen, or electricity – or both – failed.”
By recognising the problems that low and middle-income countries can face, the Glostavent® Helix is a machine specifically designed and manufactured with these obstacles in mind. Knowing the potential lack of basic resources such as consistent electricity and oxygen, the Glostavent® has been engineered to perform to full capability in some of the most challenging environments around the world.
| We had no funding assistance – everyone thought we were mad!
The very name of the Glostavent® anaesthesia machine reveals something of its inventor. A keen sportsman and rugby player in his youth, based in the county of Gloucestershire in the UK, the initial few letters of the word Glostavent® are a tribute to the names not only of Roger’s beloved rugby team, but the hospital he worked at and the county of his birth.
It’s not difficult to imagine the frustrations Roger felt in the early stages of trying to share the benefits for anaesthesia providers in low resource settings this new lifesaving machine would have.
He said: “We had no funding assistance – everyone thought we were mad! The equipment companies predicted that it would be a failure and wanted nothing to do with it.
“Then by chance we met Robert Neighbour, an engineer from Barnstaple who immediately recognised the potential and offered to take over the production.
“Dr Varvinski and I were just a couple of enthusiastic amateurs and had no engineering or marketing skills, so we could go no further in developing this idea.”
As an experienced engineer, Robert, on the other hand, could, and production in the UK began in 1997. Diamedica proved the sceptics wrong with the Glostavent® becoming so successful that it is now used in more than 70 different countries.
| I feel privileged to have played a part in the Glostavent®'s incredible, lifesaving journey
Roger said he had been delighted to watch the Glostavent® develop over the years.
He said: “In isolated hospitals in developing countries I saw that sophisticated machines used in the UK were unable, despite their huge cost, to cope with problems commonly encountered such as the absence of oxygen, electricity cuts and the absence of trained engineers to service and maintain their equipment.
“The Glostavent® was originally designed to address these challenges and I am delighted it continues to do so 21 years on. I feel privileged to have played a part in its incredible, lifesaving journey.”
Part of the Glostavent®’s success is due to Robert’s commitment to R&D and his desire to make ongoing improvements and developments. In that sense the Glostavent® of today is a far cry from the original machine.
It still does what it was first designed to do – function in the most hostile locations – but it now does this better than ever.
For more information about the new developments click here.