4 Incredible Medical Inventions That Could Save Millions
Engineering and technology drive progress and improvement in almost all areas of our lives, but few inventions are as engaging, or as interesting, as those that could one day save our lives, or the lives of those we care about.
This video from TechInsider
showcases some of the medical device industry's most impressive new innovations, from a device to staunch the flow of blood from severe wounds, to another which scrubs the cholesterol from a patient's arteries.
The XSTAT from RevMedX
First up, there's the XStat, from RevMedX
, a medical device company founded in 2009 and based out of Oregon. The XSTAT is a hemostatic device developed for the treatment of gunshot and shrapnel wounds, and works by injecting 'small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity using a syringe-like applicator'. The sponges are made from cellulose and coated in coagulant and an antimicrobial called chitosan. Inside the wound, 'the XSTAT sponges expand and swell to fill the wound cavity within 20 seconds of contact with blood. This creates a temporary barrier to blood flow and provides hemostatic pressure.'
The XSTAT device is particularly useful with regard to wounds in places not amenable to tourniquet applications, such as in the groin or axilla, and was originally designed for use in combat situations, though it was approved for use in the civilian population (of America) by the US FDA last December (2015).
According to the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, 30-40% of civilian deaths by traumatic injury are the result of hemorrhaging, and 33-56% of those deaths occur before the patient reaches the hospital. Use of the XSTAT by first responders and paramedics could reduce these percentages immensely, leading to the saving of more lives.
The Vein Viewer by Christie Medical Holdings
In May of this year (2016), the XSTAT was used on a human for the first time. A US soldier was shot in the left thigh, leaving a 'sizable cavity' in his leg, and causing damage to the femoral artery and vein and surrounding soft tissue. This lead to a seven-hour fight by a US military surgical team to control the bleeding, using such usual methods as bone wax and cautery, without success. As their struggle began to seem impossible, the decision was made to attempt to stem the bleeding using an XSTAT device, which resulted in hemostasis almost immediately. The patient stabilised and the team were able to give him blood and plasma transfusions, saving his life.
The Vein Viewer
uses HD imaging and exclusive Df2
(digital full field) technology to project the image of the patient's vasculatory system onto the skin surface. This technology was created by Christie Medical Holdings, a global company based in Memphis, Tennessee, that 'discovers, develops commercialises medical technologies'.
Projected near-infrared light is absorbed by blood and reflected by surrounding tissue, allowing differentiation between the veins and arteries and the surrounding areas. The information is captured, processed and then projected back onto the surface of the skin in real time, providing an accurate and up-to-date image of the patient's blood pattern.
The VeinViewer patented technology, which uses AVIN (Active Vascular Imaging Network), allows the imaging of blood patterns up to 15mm deep and clinically relevant veins up to 10mm within the body. This means that 'clinicians can see peripheral veins, bifurcations and valves and assess in real time the refill/flushing of veins. With visualisation pre-, during- and post- procedure, clinicians can potentially avoid complications from accidental puncture'.
VetiGel by Suneris
Vetigel is a 'prescription hemostatic gel kit for animal use only', developed by Suneris
, a privately-held medical device company based in Brooklyn, New York.
The amazing product is currently only available for use in veterinary medicine, but its inventor, and 22-year old CEO of Suneris, Joe Landolina, hopes to see its move into human medicine before too long.
The revolutionary gel halts the flow of blood by rapidly adhering to the wound site and creating a mechanical barrier, and works both externally and internally. The gel is comprised of a plant based analogue, derived from algae, of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which is a mesh of proteins and sugars that surrounds cells and informs them how to behave. This ECM varies from organ to organ, and the gel can reform itself at the wound to mimic the existing ECM at that site. For example, putting the gel on skin would cause it to mimic skin, blocking an external wound, while putting it on the liver would cause it to mimic liver tissue, staunching any blood flow. The gel also causes the body to produce large amounts of fibre wherever it's applied, which, fortuitously, is a key molecule in the blood clotting process.
One veterinary surgeon attested to the efficacy of the serum, saying "it saves time, and it saves blood loss. Nothing else halts arterial bleeding," which has long been a problem the medical community has struggled to overcome.
Following a successful launch in the veterinary markets, Suneris intends to transition VetiGel into the military and trauma space, after which the human surgical market will be the aim. Landolina believes that there are immense possibilities for applications of VetiGel in the operating room, from 'stopping bleeds during vascular surgery to grade 4 liver trauma: "Picture the liver as a water balloon full of blood," he says. "If you damage it, it's really difficult to stop the bleed. Trauma surgeons today just wrap the liver in gauze, try to control bleeding, use transfusions. There's no hemostatic product to address the problem. We've found we can stop bleeding in less than one minute."
Beyond the surgical suite, there are also possibilities for the use of the gel in other circumstances: for the healing of wounds, in burn treatments and other therapeutics.
The Cholesterol Removal Machine by Dahir Insaat
, a construction solutions corporation based in Turkey, have come up with an idea for the removal of arterial cholesterol build-up from within arteries, which is responsible for up to 30% of deaths the world over, due to such complications as heart disease and stroke.
Entirely theoretical at this stage, the concept would involve a slender rod-like object which would be inserted into the artery, where it would attach to the wall of the artery and proceed to scrape the cholesterol plaque from the inner wall with a drill-like attachment.
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