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Stevens biomedical engineering students fight hypothermia on the battlefield
Date:5/23/2011

A Biomedical Engineering Senior Design team at Stevens Institute of Technology is working with the U.S. Army and New Jersey physicians to develop a new device to combat hypothermia among wounded soldiers.

Team "Heat Wave" is composed of seniors Walter Galvez, Amanda Mendez, Geoffrey Ng, and Dalia Shendi, in addition to Biomedical Engineering graduate student Maia Hadidi. The team's faculty advisor is Dr. Vikki Hazelwood and consulting physician is Dr. Herman Morchel from Hackensack University Medical Center. Additional expert support from industry and military was provided by Jan Skadberg, RN, Colonel Boots Hodges, Stevens Burrows, and Major Jim Fulton.

"Stevens unique Senior Design approach gave students real-world experience developing a practical technology in collaboration with the military," says Dr. Hazelwood. "This is a fantastic project with a life-saving application as well as entrepreneurial potential."

Developing a portable device to re-warm patients suffering from hypothermia has the potential to substantially impact battlefield medicine. Loss of blood after trauma is the number one cause of combat fatalities in the United States armed forces. Hypothermia complications associated with loss of blood are shown to reduce the rate of survival after severe trauma by 22.5%.

"Current methods for fighting hypothermia in combat zones are to use an IV drip and wool blanket," says Geoffrey. "With these means it takes up to 16 hours to increase the core body temperature to a more stable point."

The Heat Wave system uses heated, humidified air delivered through an oxygen mask to capitalize on the patient's respiratory system. Capitalizing on the fact that the entire blood volume passes through the lungs, this heat is rapidly transferred to the blood via convection. Tests of their system show it is more effective than current treatments.

"We can decrease the time needed to resuscitate a hypothermic patient to
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Contact: Christine del Rosario
cdelrosa@stevens.edu
Stevens Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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