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Brazil has 3,600 respirators out of operation

Gustavo de Paula
Por Gustavo de Paula,
CEO e Fundador da Asset School e criador do método de ensino Asset.
Publicado em 28 de março de 2020

Amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the race to buy more respirators to serve critically ill patients, Brazil has 3,600 of these devices out of operation due to problems such as lack of maintenance. This is shown by a survey carried out by the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo in the database of the National Register of Health Establishments (CNES), maintained by the Ministry of Health on the Datasus portal.

The balance shows the existence of 65,411 respirators / mechanical ventilators in public and private hospitals in the country, of which 61,772 are in use and the rest, stopped. The number of devices that cannot be used is 5.6% of the total. Respirators are equipment considered essential for the treatment of patients who have severe coronavirus disease.

The state of São Paulo, which has the largest number of covid-19 cases and deaths in the country so far, is the one with the most disused respirators: 770 (4.2%). In Rio de Janeiro, the second state with the most contaminated by the coronavirus, 545 devices are stopped, or 7.2% of the total.

In percentage numbers, Roraima is the Federation unit with the highest rate of out-of-operation devices: 30.3% of the 152 respirators in the state are not in use. “They are broken equipment, in maintenance, but that could be recovered. It would be a great strategy to reactivate these devices at this time ”, comments intensive care physician Ederlon Rezende, from the advisory board of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine (Amib).

He states that the price of each new type device ranges from R $ 50,000 to R $ 90,000. According to the expert, although the complexity of the repairs depends on the type of failure and the availability of spare parts, the repair is not usually time consuming.

The recovery of products would leave the country less dependent on the acquisition of new respirators at a time when world demand grows significantly without the industry being able to meet it. According to Rezende, the repair can be quick and is usually cheaper.

As the State showed on Thursday, the Ministry of Health consulted equipment manufacturers on the possibility of purchasing 15,000 new respirators. The industry’s response was that availability for immediate delivery is “virtually nil”.

According to an entity that brings together manufacturers, the industries would be able to start supplying new units in about 15 days, when Brazil will already be in the peak phase of the disease, according to projections by specialists and the Ministry of Health.


Facing the scenario, General Motors yesterday announced a task force to repair devices that are not in operation due to some kind of problem. Participating in the group are representatives from the Ministry of Economy, Senai, Brazilian Association of Clinical Engineering (Abeclin), other automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, and auto parts manufacturers.

The company is already preparing specific areas at the factories in São Caetano do Sul, São José dos Campos (SP), Gravataí (RS), Joinville (SC) and its testing center in Indaiatuba, also in the interior of São Paulo, to carry out the respirator repairs. With the help of Senai, General Motors is also training technical personnel for the task online.

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