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Improving prognosis for battlefield injuries

Date:
September 11, 2014
Source:
Wichita State University
Summary:
A fast-setting splint has been developed that provides improved stabilization from what the Department of Defense currently uses in the battlefield. "The increased protection and support during transport could mean the difference between keeping or losing a limb," one expert says.
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Leg and arm injuries sustained in the battlefield are made worse when splinting devices used by military medics don't provide proper stabilization of the injured extremity.

Three years ago, Wichita State University researchers -- through a $1.4 million U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command grant -- set out to find an innovative solution to that problem.

The result: WSU's Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research (CIBOR) has developed a fast-setting splint that provides improved stabilization from what the Department of Defense currently uses in the battlefield.

Using the university's and the aerospace industry's extensive knowledge of aerospace composite material properties, the new quickly device molds to the injured limb and then hardens to create a stiff, protective, custom-shaped splint. It is compact, lightweight and works in any environment.

Why is this improved splint so necessary?

Senior CIBOR researcher Kim Reuter says protecting injured limbs from further vascular, neural and soft tissue damage during transport to a medical treatment center will result in less bleeding, less pain and faster recovery.

It could also provide a potentially life-altering benefit to the injured person.

"The increased protection and support during transport could mean the difference between keeping or losing a limb," Reuter says.

Outperforming traditional splints

The fast-setting splint comes in various sizes to fit the extremities: arms, legs, feet, hands. It comes wrapped in a small package that unfolds to lay flat on the affected extremity. Wound victims can easily strap the device on by themselves if necessary, and the device is activated by pulling gently on a tab. In about 45 seconds, it hardens in order to stabilize the patient before transportation to a medical facility.

The lab estimates it produced more than 1,000 prototypes during the three-year development phase. CIBOR is researching ways to mass-produce the splint to reduce the cost through mass production technologies.

Wichita State has filed a provisional patent, and Reuter is looking for uses for the splint outside the battlefield, such as in a hospital or added to first aid kits for emergency responders, athletic trainers, school nurses, outdoor enthusiasts or parents.

"This is just one of the many ways that the composite technology of the aerospace industry can be applied to the medical industry," Reuter said. "The CIBOR team is excited to be exploring composites for orthopedic applications."


Story Source:

Materials provided by Wichita State University. Original written by Lainie Rusco. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

Wichita State University. "Improving prognosis for battlefield injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911124223.htm>.
Wichita State University. (2014, September 11). Improving prognosis for battlefield injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911124223.htm
Wichita State University. "Improving prognosis for battlefield injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911124223.htm (accessed May 22, 2024).

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