Critical care  

Philips to develop ultrasound device to stop bleeding from battlefield wounds

4 August 2006

Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. USA. Philips Research is to lead a consortium that will develop a device that will automatically detect and stem internal bleeding from wounds.

The project is the first phase of a planned four-year DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) medical technology project to reduce the number of battlefield deaths from internal bleeding. The device could also be applied to prevent blood-loss related civilian deaths caused by accidents and serious injury.

Research into the proposed technology, called "autonomous acoustic hemostasis," will concentrate on the development of a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) detection technique for stemming internal bleeding by encouraging coagulation. The technology will be so simple to use that personnel with no medical training could successfully apply it.

Comprising robust and lightweight cuffs applied to the arms and legs of the wounded individual, the device will automatically detect internal bleeding and use an ultrasound pulse to coagulate the blood at the site of the trauma. This stems further blood-loss and allows the casualty to be moved to definitive medical care at a field hospital or emergency room.

"Ninety percent of all combat deaths occur before a casualty reaches a facility with definitive medical care," said Dr. Helen Routh, Principal Investigator and General Manager of Philips Research. "We propose a cuff that will detect life-threatening internal bleeding and stop blood flow (hemostasis) with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue."

In addition to helping the critically injured, the technology can reduce the number of limbs lost and help identify those at risk of progressive shock that can quickly become life threatening.

Philips Research is collaborating with researchers at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle; Philips Applied Technologies, Houston, Pennsylvania and San Jose, California; and Philips Medical Systems, Bothell, Washington and Andover, Massachusetts.

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