Preventing PeriOperative Hypothermia

CONTACT: mheal-perioperative@umich.edu


Abstract

Under anesthesia, a patient loses the ability to regulate body temperature, resulting in a core-to-peripheral redistribution of body heat. This causes perioperative hypothermia, which can lead to a number of complications, such as risk of infection, prolonged recovery, and increased medical costs. Through needs assessment during the summer of 2015, we found that secondary public hospitals in the Dominican Republic lack methods for regulating patient temperature during surgery. According to a local anesthesiologist, roughly 60% of their surgical patients show signs of perioperative hypothermia.

Our mission is to provide an affordable, reusable, automatic, safe and effective solution to allow public hospitals in the Dominican Republic to keep their patients warm and prevent complications that can negatively impact patient outcomes and increase the financial burden on the hospital and patient.

Our current design, driven by our requirements and user feedback, consists of an underbody warming mattress placed over the operating bed to warm the patient, insulating surgical drapes to prevent heat loss, and an automatic control system that adjusts mattress temperature in response to feedback from safety sensors and non-invasive core body temperature readings.


Mission

Develop a method to regulate patient temperature during surgery to prevent perioperative hypothermia and the complications that arise for low-resource settings.

Vision

Our team strives to give operating rooms in the secondary public hospitals in Jarabacoa and Cabrera, Dominican Republic the ability to monitor body temperature and maintain normothermia in patients during surgical procedures to prevent complications and patient discomfort.

Background

Under anesthesia, our body loses its ability to regulate temperature, resulting in a core-to-peripheral redistribution of body temperature. This causes perioperative hypothermia, or hypothermia during surgery, which leads to a number of complications, such as increased risk of infection, prolonged recovery, and increased costs to both the patient and hospital.

Based on many weeks of needs assessment during the summer of 2015, secondary public hospitals in the Dominican Republic lack methods for regulating and monitoring patient temperature during surgery, and current solutions on the market are often designed for specific use, require manual control, are not reusable, and are expensive.

Our team designed a solution through mechanical engineering senior design working with our stakeholders that consists of a warming mattress placed over the operating bed to warm the patient, insulating surgical drapes to prevent heat loss, and a control system that automates temperature adjustment in response to feedback from non-invasive core body temperature measurement.

Future Work

Our team is working to develop full-functioning warming devices to deliver to the public hospitals in Jarabacoa and Cabrera, Dominican Republic, which will involve a combination of re-design based on user feedback, risk management, cost-optimization, manufacturing, supply chain, design validation, design transfer, and regulatory clearance. 

Team History

Our team conducted needs assessment in the Dominican Republic in summer of 2015. The need driving our project, among an extensive list of others, was discovered through nearly 200 hours of observation and conversations with many doctors and nurses in public hospitals and private clinics, primarily in the emergency and surgery departments in the cities of Jarabacoa and Cabrera.

The need to regulate patient temperature during surgery was brought into MECHENG 450, Design and Manufacturing III, through the mechanical engineering department where the project was created and carried to a functional proof-of-concept prototype. The project entered M-HEAL in January 2016.

Our team traveled to the Dominican Republic August 15 to 30, 2016. There, we gathered user feedback on the prototype, observed surgeries, donated medical supplies and equipment, and facilitated basic English lessons at a local elementary school.

Acknowledgments

Dominican Partners:

Entrena Consulting | Santo Domingo

Hospital Municipal Dr. Virgilio Garcia  | Cabrera

Hospital Municipal Octavia Gautier de Vidal | Jarabacoa

Mentors:

Bruce Henniges, Sr. Director of Advanced Development, Stryker | MDP Advisor

Insitu, Center for Socially Engaged Design | Consultant

Dr. Aileen Huang-Saad, BME Professor | M-HEAL Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Sienko, BME/ME Professor | Faculty Mentor

Sponsors:

Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives

 
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Project LeadS

Hannah Soifer | soiferh@umich.edu

Scott Laorr | slaorr@umich.edu

Brian Qian | brianq@umich.edu