San Antonio (March 24, 2003) -- It may not be in time to help U.S. and British soldiers now in harm's way inside Iraq, but a new device developed by the VidaCare Corp. and researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is certain to save our heroes' lives in future armed conflicts.
As wounded soldiers go into shock, their veins fall, making a traditional IV very difficult to start. Without an infusion of fluids, blood or medicines, there's a strong chance they will die.
The "VidaPort" is a handheld, battery-powered device about the size and weight of a glue gun used in crafts. In a few seconds, it drills a small hollow needle through the bone to the marrow cavity, which has been called a non-collapsible vein. On the surface of the skin, a port connected to the needle provides instant, stable hookup to lifesaving fluids. The VidaPort utilizes a technique called intraosseous (IO) vascular access.
"When minutes and seconds matter, our soldiers need every tool they can get," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. "We are proud to be a partner in the development of this easy-to-use and revolutionary device."
"This is a critically needed technology that will save thousands of lives a year," said emergency medicine physician Larry J. Miller, M.D., chairman and CEO of VidaCare. "It solves a particular problem for our military. Medics in Special Operations generally operate at night. Most patients in such a theater have suffered life-threatening trauma. A study shows that on the average it takes a medic 12 minutes to start an IV. Lives are lost during that time because of the delay. Thanks to VidaPort, starting a line will take less than 10 seconds."
The medical community established years ago the effectiveness of administering blood transfusions, medicines and fluids through the bone marrow for infants who have collapsed veins due to shock. There has been no solution for adults because their bones are too hard to access the bone marrow.
The devices used in children are inserted manually. The VidaPort kit will come with an analgesic agent (lidocaine) to numb the area to the bone 30 seconds before insertion. The device can be inserted into the tibia (the shin bone) or arm. Most recipients would be suffering from shock or unconscious.
Emphasis on homeland security is sure to make the VidaPort a timely weapon in combating the effects of terrorism. The threat of mass exposures to biological weapons such as anthrax or ricin makes finding a quick, reliable way to start fluids and medications even more essential, said Harold L. Timboe, M.D., M.P.H., vice president for administration and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Biomedical Research at the Health Science Center. "In a situation involving mass casualties, paramedics and other first responders will need this new technology," said Dr. Timboe, former commander of Brooke Army Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. On September 11 he was commander of Walter Reed, which received casualties from the Pentagon attack.
Dr. Cigarroa announced the Health Science Center has entered its first equity agreement in lieu of royalties with VidaCare, which is developing and marketing the product worldwide. VidaCare and the Health Science Center are applying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for 510k approval, which is a 90-day process. VidaCare expects FDA approval by August of this year. The VidaPort driver is expected to sell for about $150 and the replaceable needles for about $95.
The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Health Science Center At San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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