HEV ventilator story

Members of the CERN community are committing their expertise to the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The “CERN against COVID-19” taskforce has been established at the end of March to identify and support these initiatives.

One of the projects being pursued is a ventilator, called HEV [1]. Developed in full consultation with medical professionals, the HEV is a high quality ventilator design which can be produced at lower cost, and could be used for the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, enabling the very high-end machines to be freed up for the most intensive cases.

A General Purpose Ventilator

HEV is designed to provide long term alveolar ventilation  support to patients, both in and out of Intensive Care.  It supplies Pressure Control and Pressure Supported modes, as well as CPAP support.  Patient triggering is available in all modes.   The design is based on easily-sourced and inexpensive components, and the control software is encapsulated in a dedicated micro-controller that will, along with other low-power components, establish a design which could potentially favour the deployment of the HEV in areas with limited resources and unstable power distribution.

The design is modular and is in principle adaptable to a wide range of needs and geographic deployment. The HEV was designed in a way that it can easily be modified, and parts can be exchanged. We expect this to facilitate its adaption, with local implementation and part choices depending on local requirements.

[1]The project is run by the HEV collaboration, a group of physicists, engineers and technicians affiliated with the High Energy Physics institute CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Timescale and progress status

The aim of HEV is to produce, at a very short timescale, a high-quality, versatile and low-cost device that is ready to receive the necessary approvals to be used in the fight against Covid. 

On 23 April, an international expert committee convened to review the HEV ventilator and advise the team developing it on the necessary next steps to deploy the ventilator in the global fight against COVID-19. After four hours of presentations and in-depth discussions, the reviewers judged the design to be sound, and were impressed by the technical level achieved and in such a short time.

HEV testing at ETH Zürich on 1st July

HEV presentation during webcast seminar CERN against COVID-19

CERN seminar to describe the concept, technical design and tests of the HEV system.

Discussion with emergency physician and  anesthesist to test the prototype

International review with experts

Development on-going. Review will be held on 23 April.

Publication of The HEV Ventilator Proposal

First demonstrator of HEV buffer concept working.