What Works for Me


Alternate Ventilator Tubing

From Audrey King, Ontario, Canada (king.aj@rogers.com)

"Home Depot is probably not aware that their vinyl tubing serves a rather unusual market: ventilator users who use intermittent mouth positive pressure ventilation with a volume ventilator. I was introduced to the advantages of vinyl tubing many years ago by Adolf Ratzka, a ventilator user in Sweden (see Ventilator-Assisted Living, Summer 1999).

The advantages for me are:

Vinyl tubing is semi-stiff (or can easily be stiffened further), making it easier for someone with poor or no arm function to take the tube in/out of the mouth.

It is lighter than the heavier and more cumbersome ventilator tubing, and only requires one tube rather than three (patient hose, PAP line, exhalation line).

The diameter of the vinyl tubing is smaller, which keeps the air pressure in the tubing higher so it does not alarm when it is out of your mouth. From Home Depot: Watts clear vinyl tubing 20 ft. x x"x 3/8".

It can be cut to any length and is easy and less costly to replace.

It can also serve as a wand or a pointer. Adolf uses it to emphasize key points as he speaks.

It is more cosmetically appealing to look at and promotes a less "sick" or "hospital ICU" image.

To adapt the tubing for use with the PLV®-100 (the ventilator I use), place an O2 connector (mine is blue plastic) on the outlet after the bacterial filter. On this connector, place another adapter which takes the tube diameter dimension down to approximately x" and then attach the x" x 3/8" Home Depot tubing to this.

Connect a short piece of thinner vinyl O2 tubing between the small port on the side of the blue connector and the PAP outlet on the ventilator. This keeps the pressure at the proper level. (You do not need a connection to the exhalation valve, because you exhale the air through your nose and mouth.)

Cut the vinyl tubing to the length you want, then at the other (mouth end) attach a 15mm angled mouthpiece (Respironics Part No.1004524; www.respironics.com) Because this mouthpiece is the same diameter as the tubing (1/2"), you will need a connector to join the mouthpiece to the vinyl tubing. I use a Watts Barb Splicer WCA-290 PB222, 3/8" x 3/8", which is also available at Home Depot. This barb splicer is a little lightweight brass connector with ridges that can accommodate a variety of widths (within a small range). It works well and the inside bore is wide enough to not alter the pressure. 

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