Dr Kurt Liffman of CSIRO Biomedical Devices says, "The Oxymix device is a simple, compact and inexpensive device to mix oxygen and atmospheric air".
"The Oxymix was originally conceived for use in developing countries where hospitals have access to medical-grade compressed oxygen, but not to medical-grade compressed air."
In such hospitals, when babies are treated for respiratory difficulties or lung disease, they are usually put in an 'oxygen hood', which is supplied with a small amount of pure oxygen. This may raise the oxygen level, but as the gas flow is so low, the baby's exhaled carbon dioxide builds up in the hood. This build-up can cause serious problems. Also, as the level of oxygen is very hard to maintain, it can vary from being too high (causing blindness) or too low (causing brain damage).
"The air that is provided to pre-term babies must be an appropriate air/oxygen mix and the Oxymix device does this simply and safely. It provides a way of supplying the correct flow rate of any concentration of oxygen from 21% to 100%, via a single 100% oxygen gas supply."
The development of the Oxymix is a joint project between the Australian medical devices company NASCOR and CSIRO BioMedical Devices.
"NASCOR went to CSIRO to help us develop this device because we knew of their expertise in gas flow and turbine technology", says Dr Howard Chilton, Chairman and Director of R&D at NASCOR.
"CSIRO's mechanical design met all of our objectives in a most elegant fashion. It has enabled us to manufacture an inexpensive, highly professional and critically useful device that will help thousands of babies around the world."