- New treatment
technique could be used to avoid amputations in soldiers with serious
- The 'life support
system for the limb' gives doctors the time needed to repair damage and
- After successful
clinical trials, the technique is ready and could one day be part of the
medical kit in every frontline unit.
Soldiers who suffer from serious battlefield injuries usually lose their
limbs to amputation to save their life. But a new pioneering new treatment
developed a research team at Strathclyde University could avoid
amputations and save these limbs. Referred to as the 'life support system for
the limb', the technique gives doctors the time needed to repair damage, and thereby reducing amputations. The study was funded by The Ministry of Defence (MoD): Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The technique that helps save soldiers' arms and legs, if they sustain major traumatic combat injuries is a
three-stage method specifically designed for use by combat medics in the field.
The technology was built taking into consideration the injuries inflicted on UK
soldiers by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
support system for the limb
The first stage of the treatment is applying a novel tourniquet to the
limb. A tourniquet is a highly compressed bandage used to stop bleeding
. This applies pressure at different points thereby reducing pressure and
damage to specific areas.
‘New limb saving technology could give doctors the extra time and support needed to prevent amputation of limbs among soldiers with serious battlefield injuries.’
The limb is then wrapped with a cooling 'sock' to preserve it from
further damage until the patient is be
evacuated to a hospital.
Once at the hospital, the limb is placed inside a specially designed
protective 'box'. The box is capable of sustaining the limb while doctors
attempt to repair the damage. The box has specially decontaminated air in order
to reduce infection. The box also continuously supplies the affected area with
Professor Terry Gourlay, head of the department of biomedical engineering
at Strathclyde University, said: 'We looked at every stage of the journey an
injured soldier follows after injury to ensure our solution was designed
specifically for them. The system we have developed is essentially a
life-support system for the limb
which gives doctors precious time to
attempt to repair damage while ensuring the safety of the patient.'
The technology is light weight, weighing only five kilograms, it is ideal
for deployment on operations, and use by combat medics.
Moreover, the system could also be used in a non-military setting such as
natural disasters or remote locations.
After successful clinical trials, the technique is ready to be available
commercially through DSTL and could one day be part of
the medical kit in every frontline unit.
'While this technique may not be right for every injury, it is a hugely
important innovation which could save the limbs of many more of those
affected,' said Dr Neal Smith, Medical
Sciences Capability Adviser (DSTL).
- New 'life support for limbs' can save soldiers' arms and legs when they suffer serious battlefield injuries - (http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/13/new-life-support-limbs-can-save-soldiers-arms-legs-suffer-serious-battlefield-injuries-7382826/)
- Scots biomedical engineers pioneer limb-saving technique - (https://www.scotsman.com/news/scots-biomedical-engineers-pioneer-limb-saving-technique-1-4704567)