Resmed Astral 150 vs Ventec Life Systems VOCSN for NIV

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swalker

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I have been using a Resmed Astral 150 for Non Invasive Ventilation (NIV) for over a year now. It has taken a while to get the settings where they work for me, but now that it is dialed in I really like it. I am primarily using this for NIV when I am in bed and reclined or lying flat.

I also use a cough assist device.

Since I live at very high altitude (8.500 ft above sea level), I also use an oxygen concentrator. I have an oxygen concentrator and homefill unit, along with numerous oxygen tanks with accompanying regulators, etc. I know that using supplemental oxygen is typically avoided, but my situation is a bit of an outlier because of the altitude at which I live. To get my oxygen saturation where the doctors want it, I need the supplemental oxygen. Note that I do not have a portable oxygen concentrator, so when I stray from the bedroom (where the oxygen concentrator lives), we must carry one or more oxygen tanks to provide for my supplemental oxygen needs. This is cumbersome, to say the least! But, the oxygen tanks will provide oxygen in the event of a power outage.

Now for the problem I am having. When I am using the Astral 150 for NIV, the output of the oxygen concentrator is connected to the Astral 150. When I discontinue using the ventilator, I need to switch the output of the oxygen concentrator to a nasal cannula. I have to do this rapidly, because when I stop the NIV my diaphragm goes into spasm and using oxygen through the nasal cannula seems to help resolve the situation.

I am currently using a non-medical (regular old plumbing) ball valve to accomplish this. The output of the oxygen concentrator goes (via a long tube) into the ball valve. Depending on the position of the valve, the output is routed either to a tube leading to the Astral 150 or to a tube leading to a nasal cannula. We put the ball valve where I can reach it so I can make the switch myself when I want to stop using NIV for a bit.

This works, but is quite cumbersome. I currently have enough strength in my fingers to turn the ball valve, but it is a challenge at times. I know it will become more difficult as time goes on.

I want to continue to be as independent as possible, so I am looking for solutions that will reduce the number of devices and take the ball valve out of the picture.

My pulmonologist let me know of a device that is relatively new to the market made by Ventec Life Systems. This device, the VOCSN is a single, portable unit that is a combined ventilator (NIV and invasive), oxygen concentrator, cough assist, suction, and nebulizer device. It is modular, and I would start off with the ventilator, oxygen concentrator, and cough assist modules.

On paper, it looks like the perfect solution for me. It would reduce everything I use now down to a single, portable device. It has a battery life of "up to" 9 hours.

It is a bit daunting to consider moving from the Resmed Astral 150 that I have finally dialed in to be comfortable, so before I make the jump, I would like to get the opinion of folks here. What do you think about the VOCSN? Will it really do the job for me?

Thanks for your help!

Steve
 

Jimi

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Hi Steve,
I been using niv 24/7 for over two years. Fortunately I don't require o2. I use a standard dreamstation bipap during the day and a trilogy at night or when left alone (backup rate and built in battery for safety) The regular respironics dreamstation bipap is more comfortable and quiet during daytime use when I don't need the additional safety. I use a cough assist also. I don't have any experience with the VOCSN, but was thinking about it also. Some negatives I worried about was reliability. If I depend on one device for everything, will that increase the odds of failure? Also in regards to backup power, I have 4 lithium battery packs for emergency ($125 each). I have tested them with my dreamstation and each battery lasts for 22.75 hours. With the trilogy and the VOCSN, they don't seem to be as power efficient, so backup power needs to be accounted for. I guess the ideal situation would be to have your existing equipment/system in place for a back up to the VOCSN. Regarding your ball valve/finger strength issue, McMaster Carr has a large selection of solenoid valves that can be switched with 120vac or 12 or 24 vdc. If you were to combine with a relay controlled via Bluetooth, you could use your smartphone for valve control. Sorry I didn't really answer your question. But some other ideas never hurt. Jim
 

lgelb

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Kristina posted about her VOCSN experience here.

I think it's fair to say that it won't feel exactly like the Astral, Steve, based on what I know, but I can't say if/how much the differences would bother you. Maybe you could demo it?
 

swalker

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Jimi, I also worry about power. With the Resmed Astral device, I have a DC adapter that can run off of a properly-wired car battery (or wheelchair battery). I have spare wheelchair batteries, so that should get me through for awhile (over 24 hours). It also has a built in battery that should go for up to 8 hours. I have 8 hours worth of oxygen tanks filled at all times, so I can make it easily through an 8 hour stretch. We also have a small generator that we can use to power the equipment.

If the power fails, our goal is to keep me safe long enough for either the power to come back on or for us to get me to the hospital (or some other source of power).

I have experience building both AC and DC systems that use solenoids. I am comfortable doing that for other things, but not for the stuff that involves breathing.

Lgelb, I read Kristina's post and appreciate the information she provided. I have sent a note to my doctor asking if I can try out the VOCSN device while keeping the Resmed Astral device on hand. I hope that will say "YES".

Steve
 

Rush714

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I will chime in about my experience with vocsn. I started with the astral 150, used it for about one year. I liked the idea of suction, cough and nebulizer in one machine but was worried about switching. I ended up getting the vocsn and have the astral as backup. The vocsn is perfect for on the go in my pwc, just have a bag with suction yankeur and tube., and cough assist mask. It definitely will feel different than the astral, and eventually i preferred the vocsn over astral.

The vocsn is a game changer for patients that enjoy being mobile, easier for the caregivers. I purchased spare batteries as well as a power cord that will charge the vocsn from my wheelchair. The only thing I don't like is the cough therapy, I prefer my respironics cough assist.
 

KimT

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Just a thought. When my RT saw I had a PWC, he said I qualified for two Trilogies. Of course, I refused. I wonder if your insurance would pay for the other system or some configuration while keeping what you have now.
 

lgelb

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Yes, I was figuring Steve would keep the Astral for backup. And, everyone should in fact have a backup.

I would also think you'd be eligible for a portable O2 concentrator, Steve.
 

swalker

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Rush714, thanks for the information. I really appreciate it. That is just the kind of user feedback I was hoping someone would provide.

I don't yet know if I would be able to keep the Astral for a backup. I am still waiting to hear back on that.

My doctor has written a script for a portable O2 concentrator. It has now been well over a year with no progress made on actually getting one. COVID has been the most significant reason for the delay. The oxygen company I work with has a very small local office. One of their employees was the first COVID 19 deaths in our county. And, due to COVID 19, they have been swamped. At the same time, my need for a portable O2 concentrator has not been as pressing, because I have spent most of the last year at home.

Steve
 
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