Respiratory care covers a broad range of therapeutic treatments and devices, including oxygen delivery, emergency bag valve masks, continuous positive airway pressure devices, and intubation devices. PVC, thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) and other flexible plastics are used throughout these devices for airway tubes, masks, balloons and much more.
Oxygen therapy is used to provide patients with oxygen according to target saturation rates, as prescribed by a clinician, to achieve normal or near normal oxygen saturation levels for acute and chronically ill patients. Those administering oxygen must monitor the patient to keep the saturation levels within the required target range. There are a wide variety of devices available to provide oxygen support. These are typically classified into low-flow or high-flow systems. Selection is based on preventing and treating hypoxemia and preventing complications of hyper-oxygenation.
Bag Valve Masks
Bag-valve-mask (BVM) ventilation is commonly used in emergency situations to provide oxygenation and ventilation of patients until a more definitive airway can be established, and in cases where endotracheal intubation is not possible. BVM masks and bags are available in many sizes and types. Some bags have pressure valves or one-way expiratory valves to prevent the entry of room air.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of positive airway pressure ventilator, that applies mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways continuously open in people who are not able to breathe spontaneously on their own. CPAP typically is used for people who have breathing problems, such as sleep apnea. CPAP therapy utilizes machines specifically designed to deliver a constant flow of pressure. Some CPAP machines have other features as well, such as heated humidifiers.
Intubation involves the insertion of a tube through the mouth or nose of a patient and into the airway. This is done so that the patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing. This procedure is performed on patients that cannot breathe on their own without assistance. This is often the case with patients who undergo general anesthesia and will be unable to breathe on their own during surgery. It may also be required for patients too sick or injured to breathe sufficiently to get enough oxygen to the body.
An endotracheal tube (ET) is commonly used for intubation. Guided by a lighted laryngoscope inserted into the mouth, this tube is guided into the airway where a small balloon at the distal end (i.e., cuff), around the perimeter of the tube, is inflated to hold the tube in place and to keep air from escaping.
Laryngeal mask airways (LMAs) is an alternative to endotracheal intubation, with reduced risk of gastric distention and aspiration of the patient. While the tube of this device resembles an ET tube, the distal end has an elliptical-shaped “mask” that ensures air is delivered through the trachea and into the lungs, while blocking the esophagus to prevent gastric insufflation. This device does not require a laryngoscope for installation, and therefore is commonly used in short, elective surgeries and emergency situations.
Tekni-Plex Medical materials and tubing are used throughout the respiratory market. Colorite PVC compounds are used for extruded oxygen lines and molded masks. Low durometer Colorite PVC compounds are used to manufacture balloons and cuffs used for intubation devices. Natvar extruded, multi-lumen TPU tubes are used in endotracheal and laryngeal mask airway devices.