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Students' device allows ICU patients to get back on their feet
Date:5/28/2008

gram at Johns Hopkins, Needham had challenged the students to produce a device that would meet three key criteria. First, it had to provide physical support for the patient during walking. Second, it had to safely house all necessary monitoring and therapeutic equipment for critically ill patients. Finally, it needed a safety backup system for patients who must immediately sit down because of fatigue or a sudden change in their medical condition.

We ended up building three versions, said Joshua Lerman, a senior biomedical engineering student who served as team leader. First, we used PVC pipes to work on the basic design. Then, we made an aluminum version. We made the final prototype mostly of steel. All through the process we got feedback from the hospitals ICU staff, who told us what we needed to change to make it better suit patients needs. All of the staff involved in the ICU rehabilitation program were very happy with the final version.

This final version features a walker type framework, similar to devices that some frail or elderly people use to get around. Immediately behind the patient, however, a fabric seat is attached to the frame so that a tired patient can sit down. The seat can also catch a patient who abruptly collapses because of a medical problem. We made the seat out of ballistic nylon because we didnt want it to rip, said Lerman, 22, from Delray Beach, Fla. Its durable, and its easy to clean for infection-control purposes.

As a separate component, the prototype features a tower designed to accommodate two oxygen tanks and three medical devices: a cardiac monitor, intravenous infusion pumps to provide medications, and a ventilator to support breathing. Despite all of the equipment attached to it, the MOVER prototype was small enough to maneuver through the Medical ICUs narrow hallways, although using it in the ICU patient rooms, which are particularly small, proved to be more challenging. In terms of improved efficiency,
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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert  

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