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University of Silesia in Katowice

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New ambulance equipment | An invention of USil scientists

13.05.2024 - 09:00 update 16.05.2024 - 13:10
Editors: wc-a
Tags: inżynieria biomedyczna, wynalazki

| Małgorzata Kłoskowicz, PhD |

Scientists have designed a special pneumatic tent for safe transport by ambulance of patients suspected of having an infectious disease. The invention, which was registered with the Polish Patent Office, is currently being tested in clinical conditions in several Silesian hospitals.

The folded pneumatic tent is the size of a first aid kit and the idea is to have it attached to every long spine board in ambulances. In the event of a reported emergency, the rescue team going to the patient is able to use such a tent if an infectious disease caused by various microorganisms such as rotaviruses or coronavirus is suspected.

”Let’s imagine a patient with cardiac problems. Every second counts. If they also have symptoms of rotavirus infection, there is a risk that them being placed in a ward may result in the shutdown of such a unit. Our invention solves this problem”, says Andrzej Swinarew, PhD, DSc, Assoc. Prof., co-author of the project.

When the patient is placed on the long spine board, the paramedic can open the tent over them by pulling a special string. The invention consists of a light frame, a special foil and a HEPA filter enabling air exchange without the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses. The foil was made by Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience). This material has all the required certificates and does not support the growth of microorganisms. Despite this, the tent is like a syringe – single-use.

”We made sure that our solution was safe. However, plastics are difficult to sterilise, so the regulations clearly state that this type of medical equipment cannot be used more than once”, explains the materials scientist from the University of Silesia in Katowice. ”The frame remains, but the foil itself, thanks to the use of a HEPA filter and a surface that prevents the growth of microorganisms, can be crushed and thrown into an appropriate non-medical waste container”, he adds.

The inspiration for the invention was a pneumatic marine life raft. Such a raft is mandatory equipment for every yacht. ”I am a sea captain. My colleague, Prof. Szymon Skoczyński from the Medical University of Silesia and co-author of the invention is a helmsman. And so we found an interesting solution in our favourite marine environment. In such a raft, you just pull a string and you can use the rescue option. We used a similar mechanism in our tent”, comments Prof. Andrzej Swinarew.

The use of a tent when transporting patients suspected of having an infectious disease significantly reduces the risk of spreading viruses or bacteria. The paramedic team is protected and the person can be safely transported to hospital. Then tests are performed and, if no virus is detected, the tent can be removed. Otherwise, the patient will be transported to the infectious disease ward.

Currently, the invention is being tested at the Cardiology Department of the Upper Silesian Medical Centre in Katowice, at the Independent Public Clinical Hospital in Zabrze and at the Medical Centre in Piekary. Scientists have also established cooperation with the Academic Medical Centre, a company of the Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, which will be responsible for the commercialisation of the invention. The production will be carried out by Partner Systems, a company specialising in the production of filtration devices intended for water treatment in crisis situations.

The authors of the invention are scientists associated with the University of Silesia in Katowice, the Academy of Physical Education and the Medical University of Silesia: Jadwiga Gabor, Hubert Okła, Sebastian Stach, Andrzej Swinarew, Zbigniew Żołnierczyk, Norbert Komar, Tomasz Watras, Tomasz Flak, Szymon Skoczyński, Tomasz Darocha, Ewa Trejnowska, Jarosław Paluch, Wojciech Rychlik, Krystian Wita, Konrad Mendrala, Bogdan Kolebacz, Piotr Blewąska, Aleksander Kania, Paweł Podsiadło, Sylweriusz Kosiński, Ewelina Starosta-Piłat and Arkadiusz Stanula.

Article ‘New ambulance equipment’ was published in the April issue of Gazeta Uniwersytecka UŚ (USil Magazine) No. 7 (317).

Lekarze pracujący przy sprzęcie szpitalnym

The invention is currently being tested in several hospitals in Silesia | Photo by Szymon Skoczyński

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