We have consulted with the FDA for emergency use authorization, and we believe we have a safe and viable solution that can provide life-saving breathing support within the coming months.

Repurposed sleep apnea machine for COVID-19 patient breathing support (illustration)

We’re taking swift action

Initial prototyping and testing was performed by collecting sleep apnea machines donated by residents of the city of Berkeley. To scale up and provide more available machines in a timely fashion, we created a repository on this website for people and sleep clinics to register their unused sleep apnea machines. We have re-purposed these devices to allow the addition of oxygen and viral filters, connected to either a full face mask or hood, providing positive pressure non-invasive ventilation.

Mask assembly by Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Madrid, Spain & Stanford University, CA, US

Mask assembly by Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor, Madrid, Spain & Stanford University, CA, US

We are collecting CPAP and BIPAP devices from most major manufacturers. Each of these manufactures have different designs with models with a variety of features. The critical specifications for this application are:

  • 110/220 Volts
  • Pressure range of 3-20 cm of water
  • Flow rate of >15 L/min across operating pressure
  • No humidification. If unit has humidification option it should not be used since it degrades viral filters.
  • Compatibility with viral filters
  • CPAP’s will have ability to adjust pressure
  • BiPAPs have the ability to set two pressures

Many of the donated units have a variety of extended features that can be used by the doctor and respiratory therapist if desired. This comparison chart provides model specific features for most of the units to be donated.

The components for the circuit include:

  1. Viral filters on both inhalation and exhalation legs
  2. Oxygen port to supplement air pressure with oxygen
  3. PEEP valve
  4. Anti-suffocation port
  5. Connectors and tubing for connection to mask


How CPAP & BIPAP Machines Can Help The Ventilator Demand

With minimal modifications, these machines can be retrofitted to provide breathing support for COVID-19 patients during an emergency situation where there are limited or no ventilators available or the doctors prefer to use non-invasive ventilation.

Places like Italy, Spain and New York City experienced drastic shortages of ventilators during the fight against COVID19. During emergency situations, when there is no or limited access to available ventilators, sleep apnea machines can be converted to provide breathing support for some COVID patients, keeping them alive and giving them the time to fight the disease or wait for an available standard ventilator.

Assembly by Prakash Lab, Stanford University, CA, US

Assembly by Prakash Lab, Stanford University, CA, US