A cheap and portable wound healing device
In mid-February, a month after an earthquake destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a wound management team from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston traveled to the devastated capital. On the team was MIT graduate student Danielle Zurovcik, who came in ready to try out a device she had developed as part of her thesis research: a cheap and portable version of negative pressure devices currently used to accelerate healing. of wounds in hospitals.
Zurovcik and his collaborators hope that the device, which costs about $ 3, will provide a way to improve patient care after the emergency phase carried out by the relief teams, which includes surgical operations to save a limb. or the life of the patient.
Negative pressure devices, which act by vacuuming the bandaged wound, have become an essential part of wound management in the United States over the past decade. They accelerate healing up to three times, depending on the type of wound and, in some cases, eliminate the need for plastic surgery or skin grafts. In the US there are several commercial versions available that are used to treat chronic burns and wounds such as pressure ulcers or diabetic foot ulcers. However, existing devices are often heavy (between 2.3 and 4.5 kg) and require a power source to create the vacuum, making them difficult to use in disaster situations.
But Zurovcik, inspired by the request of a burn surgeon, went further, designing a man-powered device that applies pressure through a simple bellows weighing less than 225g. By improving the seal around the dressing to reduce air leakage, Zurovcik reduced the pump's power requirements from about 14 watts to 80 microwatts, which is obtained from a hand pump.
Source: Technology Review