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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

A hand-held device that can help treat sepsis quickly

Posted on 6th June 2017 at 11:37am

Beyond civilian use, patients in underdeveloped nations or in combat areas will benefit considerably from this technology

LifeFlow is a hand-powered rapid infuser for critically ill patients who require urgent fluid delivery (photo: 410 Medical)

Sepsis is the primary cause of death from infection and is the most cited reason for death among hospitalised patients. Sepsis affects more than 30 million people a year globally, causing six to eight million deaths. In the US, it affects around one million; the UK Sepsis Trust estimates 150,000 cases and 44,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom. Surviving patients suffer from the consequences for the rest of their lives

Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria, getting into the body. The infection may have started anywhere in a sufferer’s body, and may be only in one part can be widespread. Sepsis can occur following chest or water infections, problems in the abdomen such as burst ulcers, or simple skin injuries like cuts and bites.

When the body is beset by a bacterial infection, the immune system produces an inflammatory response and tissues swell to try to deter the infection from spreading. Over time, abnormalities may occur during this process, increasing the risk of poor blood circulation and tissue damage. Septic shock and organ failure may transpire in response to acute cases of: “intravascular volume depletion, peripheral vasodilation, increased metabolism and decreased cardiac output” (Bhatia and Biyani, 2015).

Rapid fluid resuscitation is presumed to increase the blood’s volume, thereby increasing blood pressure and circulation of blood to the organs. Time is a critical element in restoring organ perfusion for patients undergoing sepsis and shock. However, given alarming mortality data, responding promptly appears to be an outstanding issue in emergency medicine. Existing methods pose a delay to the optimal delivery of fluid as they are either too slow, complex or expensive. Resistance to rapid flow when administering fluid through IV therapy also delays resuscitation.

The FDA approved LifeFlow Rapid Infuser, developed by the 410 Medical company, is a hand-held device that improves resuscitation in emergency scenarios. It is can be used for adults and children and functional in both civilian and war settings. After two minutes of prep by a trained user, 10 milliliters of fluid are released by each squeeze of the trigger. As the trigger returns to its stable position, it fills with fluid to prepare for the next release. The user can manage the pace of fluid delivery using a handle that is sensitive to changes in resistance to fluid flow. The device is also composed of a transparent cover that allows the user to observe the movement of fluid as it is driven into the IV catheter.

410 Medical’s mission to improve patient resuscitation has made waves in the emergency medicine industry. The number 410 corresponds to the ideal 4 x 10 mL/kg boluses delivered to a pediatric sepsis patient over 10 minutes – a standard suggested by US national guidelines, but which was seldom accomplished prior to the LifeFlow Rapid Infuser.

The implications of this device present a breakthrough in rapid fluid delivery – within two-and-a-half minutes, 500 millilitres of fluid can be delivered to a critically ill patient. To put this into perspective – this means an entire litre can be supplied within five minutes.

Beyond civilian use, patients in underdeveloped nations or in combat areas will benefit considerably from this technology as the rapid delivery of fluid compensates for delayed arrival on-scene owing to travel or transport difficulties in reaching the patient or accessing the scene.

Frida Velcani, Carly Esteves & Ian Portelli

Works Cited

  • 410 Medical. Np, nd Web. 22 /03/2017;
  • Bhatia, Pradeepkumar, and Ghansham Biyani (2015): Fluid resuscitation in severe sepsis and septic shock: Shifting goalposts; Indian Journal of Anaesthesia 59.5;
  • Editors: LifeFlow Rapid Infuser for Sepsis and Shock Rolling Out in US, Medgadget;
  •, Berlin (2017): World Sepsis Day, Np, 22/03/2017.
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