Tel Aviv University is currently in the process of developing a smart I.V device named ‘LifeFlow’, to be used by paramedics at accident or trauma sites. This latest technology uses a highly sophisticated mathematical algorithm connected to a computer controlled I.V drip, to accurately measure the victim’s blood loss and percentage of blood stores left. This device is also capable of administering the proper type of I.V fluid, allowing the victim to stay stable till he reaches the emergency unit at the hospital.
Typically at a trauma site such as a multiple car pile up, paramedics are inundated with the number of victims requiring immediate care. Their first task is to assess the amount of blood loss suffered by victims and accordingly prioritising care for victims with maximum loss. The ability to assess such a gruesome scene efficiently is often marred by blood haemorrhage, thereby making the availability of devices such as LifeFlow very essential.
According to Prof. Ofer Barnea of TAU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, at a scene of mass casualty, it is impossible for even a well-trained paramedic to accurately assess an individual’s blood loss. Paramedics check the pulse to see if it is strong or weak and tend to administer fluids, which could sometimes have grave outcomes in cases of a fluid overload.
Different wounded individuals require different fluids, i.e. either crystalloid I.V or colloid I.V to overcome blood loss. LifeFlow has the ability to automatically assess the requirement and administer the required amount to the victim. Moreover, painkillers can also be added to the device to completely ensure an individual’s stability before complete medical care reaches him.
After testing the devices’ viability in pigs, Professor Barnea is working in conjunction with Israeli Ministry of Health and Israel Defense Force’s Medical Corps. If investment goals are met, LifeFlow will be ready for field deployment in the next few years.
Says Professor Barnea, “Our final goal is to develop a device that controls the amount, rate and type of infusion fluid by measuring a number of different parameters. It’s a solution that’s good for any American city threatened by terror. It’s good for remote medical clinics in Alaska. It’s good for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s good for hospitals in developing nations, especially when you need to take care of a lot of wounded people at once.”