Putting the cuffs on bleeding

Philips Research is to lead phase one of a planned four-year DARPA medical technology project to reduce the number of battlefield deaths from internal bleeding.


Philips Research announced recently that it is to lead phase one of a planned four-year DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) medical technology project to reduce the number of battlefield deaths from internal bleeding.



A new medical technology to automatically detect and stem the internal bleeding of wounded soldiers is to be developed by a consortium led by Philips Research. The technology will take the form of an ultrasound-based cuff device. Its application could also be extended to prevent blood-loss related civilian deaths caused by accidents and serious injury.



‘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.’



Research into the proposed technology, ‘Autonomous Acoustic Hemostasis,’ will concentrate on the development of a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) detection technique for stemming internal bleeding by encouraging coagulation. Philips said in a statement that 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 move to a field hospital or emergency room.



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.