Two new pieces of equipment have been put into place for use by students in the respiratory therapy program at South Arkansas Community College.
Last month the program was granted a Vest Airway Clearance System unit, priced at more than $10,000, by Advanced Respiratory. The Vest actually is a vest, for use on patients with severe respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis, that loosens and thins lung secretions, making them easier to expel. Plugged into an air generator, the vest rapidly inflates and deflates, up to 20 times a second, to gently dislodge mucus from bronchial walls and move it toward central airways.
In June the program received a refurbished Nellcor Puritan Bennett mechanical ventilator, provided at a discount by General Biomedical Service. A new unit would have cost about $60,000, according to program director Joan Gauthreaux, and even refurbished models run upwards of $15,000. SouthArk purchased the unit for $11,000.
The ventilator is used on patients in need of critical care, and is essentially a component of life support, Gauthreaux said.
Both of these new items are in use in the SouthArk respiratory lab for the purposes of instruction, so that students will become familiar with equipment that they probably will utilize in a clinical setting, Gauthreaux said.
Respiratory therapy is an associate’s degree program at SouthArk.