Applying non-invasive electrical stimulation to the expiratory abdominal muscles may reduce abdominal muscle atrophy and markedly reduce the number of days adult patients require mechanical ventilation – a potentially important finding for weaning ventilated patients, including seriously ill COVID-19 patients and improving patient outcomes.
Liberate Medical has announced the results of a second randomized controlled pilot trial of its proprietary medical device, the VentFree Respiratory Muscle Stimulator, the only non-invasive and only breath-synchronized neuromuscular electrical stimulation device used to address respiratory muscle atrophy in mechanically ventilated patients. “VentFree is a promising and unique technique for providing respiratory muscle protective ventilation,” commented first author Annemijn Jonkman, MSc, Amsterdam UMC. The trial was published in the journal Critical Care.
The trial, conducted in the Netherlands, was assessor-blinded, randomized, sham-controlled, and included twenty participants. The results showed that the intervention was safe and feasible, with a total treatment compliance rate of 91.1%. The results from this EU study were combined with the results of a similar trial in Australia that was published last year. In the pooled analysis:
- Median ventilation duration and ICU length of stay in the total study population were 10 versus 52 (P = 0.07) and 12 versus 54 (P = 0.03) days for the intervention versus sham group.
- Total abdominal expiratory muscle thickness was increased at day 3 in the intervention versus sham group (P = 0.02).
- Sixteen (16/20) patients were successfully extubated in the intervention group vs. ten patients (10/20) in the sham group;
- During ICU stay, 3/20 patients died in the intervention group versus 8/20 in the sham group (P= 0.16)
Prof. Leo Heunks, MD, PhD, Amsterdam UMC, coordinating investigator for the study commented, “We’re very encouraged by these results, which indicate that the VentFree has the potential to meaningfully improve patient outcomes both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
“We’re excited to announce these results,” said Angus McLachlan, Liberate Medical Chief Executive Officer. “Reducing the time patients are on mechanical ventilation may reduce the risks of prolonged mechanical ventilation, which include muscle weakness, hospital-acquired infections, and deteriorated quality of life – a frequent outcome for so-called COVID-19 ‘long-haulers.’”
Source: Liberate Medical