Medical equipment, 'AutoSet Spirit' flow generator and 'HumidAire 2i' humidifier with packaging, automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) system, plastic / metal / cardboard, designed and made by ResMed Ltd, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia, 2002-2004
The AutoSet Spirit flow generator and H2i humidifier were designed and made by ResMed, NSW, 2002-2004. The Autoset Spirit flow generator is designed for use in the clinic or at home to treat obstructive sleep apnea by providing positive air pressure throughout the night according to the patients needs. Sleep apnoea is a serious medical condition affecting at least 5% of middle-aged adults. Sufferers experience fragmented sleep due to snoring and airway collapse. It is strongly linked to a range of serious diseases including cardiovascular disease, obesity, respiratory insufficiency and diabetes.
The AutoSet technology detects and responds to subtle changes in the airway. If flow limitation, snoring or apnoea is detected, the AutoSet gradually increases pressure to bring the airway back to normal. The machine records data about the patients airflow for use by clinicians. Use of the integrated humidifier is optional depending on the needs of the patient.
The preemptive and adaptive nature of the AutoSet allows it to treat patients with lower air pressures, on average, than traditional CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) treatment. This results in more comfortable sleep, better quality of life and improved patient compliance with treatment.
The AutoSet Spirit and H2i flow generator received an Australian Design Award for Industrial Design and Powerhouse Museum Selection in 2003. They represent continuing innovation by the Australian company, ResMed, who have been world leaders in producing devices for treating sleep apnea since the 1980s. The company exports over 90% of its product to over 60 countries.
The 'AutoSet Spirit' flow generator and 'Humidaire 2i' humidifier were designed and made by ResMed Ltd in North Ryde, New South Wales, in 2002-2004.
The 'AutoSet Spirit' flow generator is designed to treat sleep apnoea by providing positive air pressure throughout the night according to the patient's needs. The 'AutoSet' technology detects and responds to subtle changes in the airway. If flow limitation or apnoea is detected, the 'AutoSet' gradually increases pressure to bring the airway back to normal. The machine records data about the patient's airflow for use by clinicians. Use of the humidifier is optional depending on the needs of the patient.
The 'AutoSet Spirit' flow generator and 'H2i' humidifier received an Australian Design Award for Industrial Design and Powerhouse Museum Selection in 2003. These devices were lent to the Museum in 2005 for long term display in the Success and Innovation exhibition.
The history of ResMed began with Professor Colin Sullivan at the sleep clinic of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. In 1979, he studied some patients who were heavy snorers. He noticed that they had apnoea and he guessed that other snorers could also have this condition. As his father was an inventor, he had grown up with the attitude that problems can be solved. He had the idea of supplying pressurised air via the nose (nasal continuous positive airway pressure, or nasal CPAP) to keep his patients' airways open during sleep.
To test the idea, he glued tubes into a patient's nostrils and connected them to a vacuum cleaner (no that's not a joke!) set up to blow air into the tubes. This worked for some patients, although others could not get to sleep while hooked up to the experimental machine.
Dr Sullivan had developed and tested a treatment for sleep apnoea and he had realised that the condition might be fairly common. He had seen an opportunity to improve many people's quality of life and to create an industry.
His next step was to develop a device to supply the positive air pressure via a mask, rather than through uncomfortable tubes. He patented his first nasal CPAP device in 1981, but further development and design work would be needed to make it suitable for mass production and everyday use. Sullivan approached Dr Peter Farrell, who was then working for a multinational healthcare company, for financial support. Farrell backed the idea and later became the leader of ResMed, the company that grew from their partnership.
The Sullivan Nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) was the first machine to give complete relief from sleep apnea. The machine was improved to make the flow rate and pressure adjustable to meet individual needs. The sleeping mask was also constantly redesigned to make it much more comfortable. Now sleep apnoea sufferers can sleep soundly and enjoy better quality of life.
The ResCare company, later known as ResMed, was formed in 1989 to manufacture and market the CPAP. By the end of the century, ResMed operated through offices in the United States, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, and through a network of distributors in more than 40 other countries. Its main manufacturing base was in Sydney and the company spent 7-8% of its net revenues on research and product development. The company was listed on both the Australian and New York Stock Exchanges and had a total of 186 patents issued and pending for a range of technologies. In 2000 ResMed made the Forbes 200 Best Small Companies in America list for the fourth year in a row.