Using the digital twin to address the ventilator shortage during the pandemic

By AnnaMary Gualdoni

During the pandemic, hospitals across the globe faced a ventilator shortage. Doctors had to put two patients on a single ventilator due to the influx of respiratory infections without knowing if it would be safe or effective. In a recent webinar, experts showcased how they utilized simulation and an executable digital twin to discover a solution.

What is an executable digital twin?

An executable digital twin (xDT) is a precise virtual representation of a physical product. As a self-contained digital model, anyone can leverage it at any point in the lifecycle, adapting and learning from its environment in real-time while recording data for analysis and continuous learning. It enables predictive maintenance, patient-specific care and personalized optimization of tangible assets.

Connecting two patients to one ventilator with the digital twin

The team designed an optimized splitter assembly to ensure the safe and effective connection of two patients to a single ventilator. This assembly splits the ventilation line and incorporates a digital twin for verifying its functionality. Through simulation, the digital twin replicates the flow network, including the ventilator, humidifier, heater unit, and lung model, enabling comprehensive system testing in a virtual environment.

Testing scenarios with the digital twin

Upon verifying specific parameters during simulation, other scenarios using the digital twin can be tested, such as what happens if there’s a leak in the system or if one of the patient’s condition worsens. After verifying the viability by using a single ventilator with two patients, the next step involves creating a physical test bed to test the solution.

Want to learn more? Click the link below to watch the full recording of the webinar.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at