Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Low tech solutions to third world problems

Neoprene suit helps prevent deaths in childbirth, study finds
Last Updated Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:26:39 EST
CBC News
A low-tech suit could potentially help to prevent a major cause of death among women who give birth in developing countries, a new study suggests.

The neoprene suit is designed to restore blood flow to vital organs of women in shock because of bleeding during childbirth.

Hemorrhaging accounts for more than one-third of the more than 500,000 maternal deaths worldwide each year due to childbirth.
During childbirth, blood can pool in the mother's legs and abdomen, reducing blood flow – and vital oxygen – to the brain, heart and lungs.

Researchers tested if the reusable lightweight suit could help prevent such problems in a pilot study of 364 women in Egypt.

The suit – known as the non-pneumatic, anti-shock garment, or NASG – is designed to push blood back up to vital organs to keep a woman alive until she can be treated in hospital. The NASG resembles the bottom half of a wetsuit.

The 206 women who wore the suit during the study lost half as much blood compared with 158 women who received the standard treatment for bleeding.

"The NASG shows promise for management of obstetric haemorrhage, particularly in lower-resource settings," the team concluded.

The suit includes five segments tightened with Velcro to shunt blood to vital organs. It is a variation on a suit used by emergency medical technicians in the U.S. to transport patients with lower-body trauma.
"In our research, women who appeared clinically dead, with no blood pressure and no palpable pulse, were resuscitated and kept alive for up to two days while waiting for blood transfusions," said Suellen Miller, a maternal health expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who conducted the pilot study.
The suit tested in Egypt can be applied by anyone and no medical training is needed, Miller said in a release.

Larger studies on the suit are planned.

Uncontrolled bleeding accounts for about 30 per cent of the more than 500,000 maternal deaths worldwide during childbirth, nearly all in poor countries, according to the researchers.

The study appear in the Feb. 27 online issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


Trib said...

No doubt this is a good thing, but I'm not so much understanding how the women lost half as much blood. Okay, I get it now.
Lots of interesting stuff!

Jennifer said...

The thing I like about this article aside from the obvious, is the idea of a cheap and easy solution to a major problem. I think sometimes we overthink this kind of stuff, 'Oh well, we can't help these women without building a million dollar hospital in every village and then make their impoverished government go into debt to pay us back for it."
For instance, another aid project involved using Menonite technology for water pumps for wells, they were long lasting easy to repair, cheap and a proven technology.

Trib said...

Touche. I'm all about improvisation. If you're in the field and don't have a sterile drill just drape a DeWalt.