University of Utah Health innovators design reusable PPE for health care workers

Community Over Crisis

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- The Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) at the University of Utah Health has found a way to design and assemble equipment necessary to keep health care workers safe.

The Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) is a personal protective equipment (PPE) in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A PAPR system consists of a helmet, a filtered respirator and motor that generates positive pressure to prevent entry of unfiltered air and protect the health worker from inhaling aerosolized COVID-19 particles, health officials say.

Related: Utah receives millions of PPE

Innovators at CMI used readily available components to make their own PAPRs.

The used mobile battery packs, portable fans, and replaceable medical grade filters with several 3D printed adapters.

Courtesy: University of Utah Health

These CMI made PAPR Units will be delivered to University of Utah Hospital, Indian Health Services and the design specifications will be made available to partners across the world.

Here’s everything CMI has been working on during the pandemic:

  • Reusable Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) system using readily available components to protect health workers from aerosolized viral contaminants 
  • Formalize our support for Global Health Innovation programs for partner sites in Nepal and India during this public health emergency
  • Reusable face shields: Design, development, and open-source instructions for assembly
  • Noninvasive ventilation system (low-cost bubble CPAP) design using commonly-available respiratory equipment and tubing, to reduce or delay ventilator needs when vetilators and standard CPAP machines are unavailable.
  • Droplet / aerosol containment box to protect health care providers during crucial close-contact procedures
     – Updated version April 14, 2020 –
  • 3D Printed PAPR helmet adapter: design, development and instructions to retrofit older model PAPR helmets to newer model respirator systems  

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