A tracheotomy is an emergency procedure applied to somebody with an obstructed airway, where a trained bystander makes an incision in the victim’s neck and inserts a tube to restore ventilation. While a relatively straightforward procedure for those with training and experience, it can have complications, or worse: if nobody around the suffocating victim is trained to perform it in the few seconds before loss of consciousness.
Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) have designed and patented a more user-friendly solution. Their device easily identifies the trachea, and makes a clean incision that allows for future surgeries when medical attention arrives. It does so by assisting the user in locating the neck and trachea, adjusting the preload of the shot of the needle, making the incision for an alternative airway, dilating the new airway, and maintaining the airway by electrical and pneumatic means.
The device is currently being assessed through Medtronic EUreka and the researchers aim to have the device be one day as commonplace and easy to use as automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).
Press release: Tracheotomies faster and safer