How We Breathe: how technology is changing approaches to ventilation

Between 2020 and 2022, I spent a lot of time reading about ventilators. So did a lot of the country. News coverage of the pandemic talked about everything from the serious shortage in ventilators around the country to new technologies available that might help save lives by helping victims of the virus breathe.

From the pandemic that started in March of 2020, to the wildfires in California in August of that same year that made it difficult to take the outside air, I have spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about breathing, that simple and essential activity that we’ll do, mostly unconsciously, throughout our lives. And how that activity of breathing is, at this moment in history, connected to technology.

That’s why I wanted to talk to Aurika Savickaite, an- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and medical professional at the University of Chicago who has spent her entire career providing top-quality patient care and advocating for the use of helmet-based ventilation to improve healthcare outcomes.

Aurika is a recognized expert in noninvasive ventilation via the helmet interface and has garnered widespread respect within the medical community for her passionate work in this area. In 2014, she was involved in a successful three-year trial study at the University of Chicago Medical Center that tested the effectiveness of helmet-based ventilation in the ICU. Drawing on this experience, she authored a capstone paper on Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for the Treatment of Acute Respiratory Failure in Immunocompromised Patients, which has been instrumental in raising awareness about the benefits of this technology.

In March 2020, Aurika founded, a website that has become a valuable resource for medical professionals seeking to learn more about the benefits of helmets and their use in treating patients with respiratory distress. Aurika continues to actively manage the website and update it with the latest research and information about helmet-based ventilation.

Today, Aurika is dedicated to educating clinicians about the use of helmet-based ventilation and she believes that the evidence-based information she provides can help save lives, shorten ICU stays, lower the workload for medical staff, and improve overall healthcare outcomes. Her goal is to promote the use of this technology in both ICU and non-ICU settings and help to make it more widely available to those who need it.

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