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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

What is OSU Fast Response Respiration (OFRR)?

OFRR is a small engineering team led by an OSU faculty, working with donors, volunteers, businesses, doctors and external engineers. OFRR identified that helmet-based ventilation can be used as a part of the solution for the regional and nation-wide ventilator shortage; and can be deployed rapidly at scale. OFRR seeks to accelerate production of these devices and present a balanced and up-to-date assembly of literature and training materials related to the use of helmet ventilation by medical teams for patients with COVID-19.

What is the OFRR Web Resource Project?

Providing a one-stop web location to gain access to the most up-to-date training and resource information, including how to order units, is one component of the OFRR effort.

Why helmet non-invasive ventilation (HNIV)?

Addressing the nation’s acute ventilator shortage is critical to helping hospitals treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. HNIV have been shown to enhance survival rates of patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) when air was supplied by a ventilator machine used in the study [1]. Medical teams can connect helmets to wall gases in hospitals to provide pressurized ventilation. Because the patient is enclosed and exhaled air is filtered, helmets may also reduce the risk of viral spread and exposure of health care providers. Helmets may be a preferred treatment instead of intubation for some COVID-19 patients since HNIV patients do not require sedation and the treatment is less invasive.

[1] One study looking at the effectiveness of pressurized helmets was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Patel et al., in 2016. Access further articles.

How do the helmets increase the number of patients that may be treated?

Although the helmets can be supplied with air by connecting to a ventilator, they also may be supplied using hospital wall gas supplies, thereby requiring no ventilator. All components are already FDA-registered and have been in use for more than a decade. Helmet treatment of ARDS has been shown to provide efficacious respiratory care to patients with mild-to-moderate cases of ARDS and have been shown to enhance survival rates, as demonstrated in several studies, including in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Patel et al, JAMA, 2016). To address the infectious nature of COVID-19 where ventilator machines are not available, helmets can be supplied from constant pressure wall oxygen sources available throughout hospitals, combined with HEPA filters and positive end-expiratory pressure control to limit the spread of the virus.

How much do the helmets cost?

Pressurized helmet ventilators are significantly less expensive than traditional ventilators, costing about $200 per patient. Most of the parts are reusable following sterilization between patient uses.

How can I order pressurized helmet ventilators for my hospital or clinic?

Download the bill of materials spreadsheet.

Who will produce the helmets?

The OSU team is working with six producers. Although currently in short supply, helmet production is ramping up rapidly. FDA listing of the devices is limiting the commercial sales of these devices.

Are there risks of using the helmets?

Yes. Using a helmet involves putting a person’s head into a sealed, low-volume chamber. This device should only be used where 24/7 expert monitoring by medical professionals is in place. Helmets are not intended for home use. Any failure of the helmet to perform, due to patient condition or mechanical issues with the helmet system, must be detected and addressed within seconds in a hospital or clinics where trained and equipped teams are ready to react.

Who can I contact with questions or information?

Please direct questions to We appreciate questions about aspects of the use of helmets for ARDS that are not clear, or copies of peer-reviewed information that would be useful to medical care professionals.

How can I support this project?

Donations are welcome to help producers scale up and provide outreach to the medical community. We seek to place pre-paid orders. Further, the use of helmets is new to most hospitals in the U.S., so we plan to provide informational support for those who have questions, as well as providing resources to train people in helmet use. Donations to OFRR may be made to the OSU Foundation via link. Under “Comments or special instructions,” please specify: “These funds are restricted to be used by the OFRR team to ramp up production, provide resources to encourage and proper use of helmet ventilation for the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop technical solutions needed to make this therapy more effective.”