Around 4.8 Million people die because of their trauma injuries each year and over 35% never reach the hospital in time because they bleed to death at the scene.
But what can doctors do to stop the bleeding on site?
There is a method from the 1950s, called “Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta", where the doctor inserts a balloon catheter into the femoral artery (inside the leg) of the patient and clogs the aorta with the inflated balloon. This method is very effective and can save many lives, but it's very difficult to use in the unpredictable pre-hospital environment. That's why only a handful of emergency professionals worldwide feel confident enough to use this method on sight.
So the guiding question during this thesis was
"How might we reduce the complexity of the reboa kit and make it a faster procedure?"
Inspiration and Method
For understanding the challenges of treating injured patients at the scene, research trips where made to emergency ambulances in Austria, Sweden and UK. The in depth research to understand the REBOA procedure and its complexity, was conducted at the London Air Ambulance, which is the first organization worldwide who uses this therapy outside the hospital.
The main issue of this procedure are the fiddly components, the specific order which is necessary to conduct the procedure and the messy packaging which gives no guideline in stressed situations.
After joining in-depth training sessions with mannequins and cadavers, nightshifts and a course with trauma specialists from all over the world, the project kicked-off to become a new system kit.
The outcome of this project is a reduction of complexity from 9 tools down to 3, which are packaged in one single kit and ready to go. On the top layer, there are the tools you need for accessing the aorta, while on the bottom layer you find the balloon inflation device which helps you with automated guidance to occlude the balloon successfully.
This simplified tool management offers more control for emergency professionals and shortens the procedure time about 50%, which reduces time pressure and stress for the doctors.
With the training blanket, doctors and paramedics are able to practice the technical procedure of REBOA. Guidelines on the blanket help the user through the procedure and show the dangerous zone where the balloon could harm the patient if inflated. The blanket can be folded back to reveal the position of the balloon within the transparent plastic aorta. To emphasize the human factor, the user can train with an actor and to add a stressful pre-hospital situation, with Augmented Reality goggles.