Million+ Patients Helped

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia Ciel Medical

Kate Garrett

CEO & Co-Founder

Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2011-12

Dan Azagury

Board Director & Co-Founder, Ciel Medical

Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2011-12

"Legend has it that every year since the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship was started in 2000, ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) has been identified by a team of fellows as one of their top unmet clinical needs. It’s one of the most common complications that affects long-term ventilated patients and, because most of these individuals are already critically ill, it can be life threatening.

By the time we were fellows in 2011, breathing tubes with a built-in suction line had been on the market for 10 years. Strong clinical evidence supported the fact that this technology significantly reduced the risk of VAP by enabling the removal of pneumonia-causing fluid from the airway. Yet, despite these compelling results, these specialized breathing tubes were used infrequently in some hospitals and not at all in most.

This baffled us until we observed an intubation in the ICU. Intubation is typically an urgent, stressful procedure, and it was clear that choosing between different tube options in the midst of the procedure was out of the question. Complicating matters further, breathing tubes with built-in suction lines are considered expensive, so they’re not standard of care for all patients. We wondered if we could find a way to deliver a suction device post-intubation so that every long-term ventilated patient could have access to this simple, potentially life-saving technology when/if it was needed.

Today, the product we invented enables care providers to do just that – introduce a suction device into the airway if there appears to be a risk of VAP. And that really makes a difference for patients. Our team recently watched a case at the VA hospital where our device was used to remove from the patient’s airway what was described by the physician as 'some of the thickest, most dangerous secretions I’ve seen in my 45 years in respiratory care.' After the intervention, we were so touched to see the man turn to the doctor and mouth the words 'thank you.' That’s what it’s all about."

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia


“We were so touched to see the man turn to the doctor and mouth the words ‘thank you.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Ciel Medical developed a portfolio of technologies to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia in ventilated patients. The company was acquired by Vyaire Medical in 2017.

Disclaimer of Endorsement: All references to specific products, companies, or services, including links to external sites, are for educational purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the Byers Center for Biodesign or Stanford University.

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