When on the battlefield or in other emergency medical situations stabilizing a trauma victim quickly and accurately is of utmost concern. To achieve this, immediate access to the circulatory system is crucial to administer drugs or fluids. Placing an IV or central line requires precision and skill making it difficult or dangerous to do when while in a moving vehicle or under fire. Sternal Intraosseous (I/O) Infusion is a viable solution.
By injecting fluids via bone marrow in the sternum, vascular access can be achieved quickly and easily. Current generation sternal IO injectors are not without problems however. They are single use, containing a single dose of infusion fluid and require significant physical force to insert. Many Sternal I/O systems are comprised of multiple parts that have to be assembled as well as remain sterile.
My goal was to create a reusable system with disposable heads that could handle different infusion fluids with selectable dose volumes. This would eliminate waste and the need for medics to carry large numbers or different single use units. Additionally, I wanted to focus my attention on speed and ease of use by leveraging existing military ergonomic heuristics and by eliminating the need for fine motor skills during operation.
In addition to creating a systemic solution, I also explored ways of overcoming the trauma of recieving an I/O infusion as well. Normally, the heavy gauge needles required to puncture the sternum wall must be driven in by hand with a great deal or force and pressure. It was decided early on to explore a pneumatic piston driven mechanism that would reduce patient discomfort and make placing an I/O port easier for medics.
Most sternal I/O devices currently being used do not administer fluids themselves. A chest mounted fixture is put in place that offers a port for syringes or IV bags. These fixtures often involve several parts that require assembly before fluids can be introduced. They also require special tools to remove needles from the patient's chest. This seemed inadequate.
To address these inefficiencies, the new design administers a selectable dose immediately as part of insertion. A new, single piece needle head fixture was also designed. This would be the only disposable part of the system.
This needle head would be placed securely on the patient simply by using the injector, rather than installed afterward. The device is completely tool-free, making removal easy.
A standard port is integrated into the needle head to provide continued flexible access for infusions after the initial dose.
Sternal Intraosseous Infusion Device
How it Works:
The finished product incorporates the single piece, single use needle head fixture with a reusable cast metal hand unit. The dosage in CCs is visible via a small LCD and can be altered using corresponding + and - keys. This is the only electro - mechanical system present, powered by a single, user accessible CR type battery cell.By carrying multiple infusion fluid canisters, and needle heads, a single medic can be better equipped, and better prepared to adapt to multi - patient scenarios. By streamlining the sternal intraosseous infusion process, stabilizing an otherwise critical patient becomes easier, even under high stress or in moving vehicles.