LifeVac: Saving Lives with an Effective Airway Clearing Device
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Arthur Lih, Founder & CEO
The vision of LifeVac came from a story that Arthur Lih— the company’s founder and CEO—heard of a woman in a hospital weeping following the death of her 7-year-old son who choked on a grape. After several unsuccessful attempts of the Heimlich Maneuver, the young lad died as the grape got lodged in his windpipe. While the story is devastating, what makes it worse, is that such incidents are not uncommon. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one child dies every five days from choking on food, making it the leading cause of death in children in the United States. Not just this, choking is a leading cause of accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65, and more people die from aspirating than fatalities in fires, drowning, or accidental shootings. Choking is the cause of more than 5,000 deaths annually and results in 100,000 visits to the emergency room every year. As a matter of fact, over 100 million Americans have no defense against aspiration emergencies due to pregnancy, disability, obesity, or being alone.
In spite of that, too little attention is paid by government agencies and food manufacturers to minimize choking risks. Even after being the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, somehow, there still exists a need to reassure that choking is an emergency. As such, there is no such device available for assistance in the resuscitation of a choking victim when the standard current choking protocol—abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) and back blows— fails. The incident came as a shock to Lih, as at that time, his daughter was the same age. He committed himself not to let people suffer like this and set out to develop a device that would remove a blockage from a person’s throat to clear the airway. In order to bring the safest, simplest method of saving an aspirating person to the public, Lih alongside Dr. Lisa Brody, MD FACG, and a few other close friends, established a research and development facility located in New York and ultimately invented an upper airway clearing device.
Simple. Safe. Efficient
It was 2013 when he set out on a mission to save lives through a non-powered, single patient, portable suction device. Today, it comes fully equipped with an adult mask, a pediatric mask, and a practice mask. Being a non-invasive portable (ACD) airway clearance device developed for resuscitating a victim with an airway obstruction emergency— LifeVac—is perfectly poised to address the choking hazard when standard basic life support (BLS) protocol fails. “We want people to know how common choking is and there is a solution. Our goal is to eliminate this major cause of accidental death and provide people with an easy to use, inexpensive way to save a life,” asserts Lih.
As an Airway ClearingDevice, applying LifeVac on a victim takes a three-step approach—Place, Push, and Pull
Our goal is to eliminate this major cause of accidental death and provide people an easy to use, inexpensive way to save a life
It can be used when someone is sitting (wheelchair user), standing, or lying down. The device has a patented one-way valve that does not allow any air to enter or exit through the mask on the downward motion. The valve prevents air from pushing food or objects downward, which creates a one-way suction for removing the lodged food or object in the choking victim. After being applied to the mouth, it only sucks up and does not push air down when pulled, creating three times more pressure than the abdominal thrust and chest compressions as trained in First Aid. It creates a negative pressure and is capable of generating over 300 mmHg of suction for dislodging the obstruction. “During testing, the apparatus has dislodged obstructions of the airway 99.9 percent of the time in one use. The overall duration of the suction is minimal, which makes our device safe and effective,” explains Lih.
Making a Difference!
Being a simple and easy-to-use device, LifeVac has vast potential to save thousands of people from choking. Apart from helping susceptible populations such as children and the elderly, the solution also aids people suffering from severe diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Neurological Disorders, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. LifeVac has undergone extensive testing and doesn’t require a prescription. LifeVac is a registered medical device with the FDA and MHRA and is also approved and accredited by the Canadian Health Service and C.E.
The device can be used by Emergency Medical Services in the field and has proved valuable in hospitals. Today, LifeVac is equipped in over 2500 care and nursing homes across the U.K., including not just the small independent care homes but also some of the largest care providers such as Four Seasons Health Care and HC-One. Based on its encouraging results, the device is currently being used in police, fire, rescue, and emergency vehicles around the U.S., as well as in schools, private homes, and assisted living facilities.
“My goal is to eliminate choking as the fourth leading cause of accidental deaths, by the time I die, I want it gone from the list.” This bold statement from Lih depicts the vision of LifeVac. Working further ahead on his mission, Lih donated the device to several schools where children died after choking. He believes that working with schools and parents alongside the local government would help eliminate this leading cause of accidental death in school by far. “We have saved many lives around the world, and our aim is to educate people by raising awareness and fighting the myths around choking. Our success ratio is 37 out of37 in the care sector with no adverse effects, and we are the best option during a choking emergency when standard protocol fails,” concludes Lih.
Description The company provides a non-invasive portable (ACD) airway clearance device developed for resuscitating a victim with an airway obstruction emergency. LifeVac is set out on a mission to save lives through its non-powered single patient, portable suction device. It comes fully equipped with an adult mask, a pediatric mask, and a practice mask. Being an anti-choking device, applying LifeVac on a victim takes a three-step approach—Place, Push, and Pull. It can be used when someone is sitting (wheelchair user), standing, or lying down. The device has a patented one-way valve that does not allow any air to enter or exit through the mask on the downward motion
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