Updated May 30, 2020

PATH Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) and Oxygen Blenders for Neonates

Part of PATH

Patricia Coffey

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The PATH Oxygen blenders and bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) kit + Oxygen blenders is a low-cost, standalone, preassembled device for neonatal respiratory support

The PATH bCPAP + Oxygen blenders kit offers an inexpensive, preassembled device to treat respiratory distress syndrome.
The PATH bCPAP + Oxygen blenders kit offers an inexpensive, preassembled device to treat respiratory distress syndrome.

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Our bCPAP kit delivers clinically relevant pressures (up to 8 cmH2O) and oxygen blends (37 percent and 60 percent) at typical flow rates (2 liters to 5 liters per minute). We have optimized the configuration of the bCPAP kit and blender and conducted design for manufacturing to ensure that the oxygen blenders can be manufactured reliably at scale using injection-molding processes to ensure low-cost. The two oxygen blenders are designed to operate on oxygen cylinders, mid-to-large sized oxygen concentrators, or central oxygen supplies. PATH is currently collaborating with partners from Adara Development, Kiwoko Hospital, and University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital to conduct an operational feasibility study in Uganda. Results from this study will inform future product design, manufacture, and scale.

Focus Areas:

Maternal Newborn and Child Health and Medical Devices

Maternal Newborn and Child Health and Medical DevicesSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Verified Funding


Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a condition resulting from a lack of surfactant and underdeveloped lungs, affects the majority of babies born before 32 weeks of gestational age and is almost always fatal without effective treatment. A lifesaving procedure commonly used to treat RDS is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Commercially available CPAP devices or ventilators are often unaffordable in resource-limited hospitals and clinics, and to compound the problem, unreliable power limits the practicality of this equipment in many of these settings. To address these challenges, health care workers often devise improvised solutions such as nasal bubble CPAP (bCPAP) kits—assembled using tubing, nasal prongs, and a water bottle as a bubbler. These improvised kits provide low-cost lifesaving respiratory support without the requirement for power or dedicated equipment. However, they rely on a 100 percent source of oxygen and lack the ability to blend air into the gas provided to the newborn. Excessive oxygen is extremely dangerous to preterm newborns, frequently resulting in complications such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), chronic lung disease (CLD), and brain damage.



Inspired by these improvised bCPAP kits, PATH, in collaboration with neonatologists and respiratory therapists at Seattle Children’s Hospital, developed a low cost bCPAP kit that includes two oxygen blenders capable of providing fixed 37 percent and 60 percent blends of oxygen. This low-cost bCPAP kit does not require assembly at the point of care and is designed to provide bCPAP therapy to preterm newborns with RDS without the requirement of a power source (i.e., electricity or battery) or a source of compressed medical air. Above: PATH’s bCPAP kit configuration. Below: PATH’s bCPAP kit. Photos: PATH. These oxygen blenders work by entraining room air into the flowing oxygen stream to provide a safer blend of gas for newborns to breathe when receiving bCPAP therapy. Designed to be inexpensive, robust and easy to use, the blenders provide a stable and reliable source of blended gas under all clinically relevant conditions of pressure and flow. This blended gas is much safer for preterm newborns than the 100 percent oxygen commonly given with improvised bCPAP kits, which reduces the risk of ROP, CLD, and brain damage.

Target Beneficiaries

Providers and facilities in both the public and private sector who provide comprehensive services to perterm and sick infants.

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to advance health equity through innovation and partnerships. Our vision is to improve the health of infants worldwide by providing affordable and culturally appropriate respiratory support devices.

Competitive Advantage

Respiratory support devices for neonates are often too expensive or not available in facilities in low and middle income countries. Improvised devices are not quality-tested and do not always deliver the flows and pressures needed to treat vulnerable infants. The PATH bCPAP + Oxygen blenders device is an affordable, effective and quality-assured option for respiratory support.
Funding Goal2,000,000
New Implemented CountriesGhana


Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In