A Team of Students Awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant for the Invention of an Automatic, Precise Tourniquet during Emergency Use

A Team of Students Awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant for the Invention of an Automatic, Precise Tourniquet during Emergency Use

A team of students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) has been awarded a Lemelson-MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) InvenTeam grant of $10,000 to invent an automatic, precise tourniquet for emergency use. TJHSST is a Fairfax County public school, as reported by fcps.edu.

The device will be designed to be more affordable, precise, and user-friendly than emergency tourniquets currently in use by health care professionals. They have come up with an idea for a self-adjusting tourniquet that would be affordable enough to be deployed in developing countries — where a wounded person could be hours or days away from a hospital — and simple enough to be used by people without any medical training.

The students’ proposed model will emulate the process used in surgical tourniquets, and will use a unique algorithm to scan through a pressure range until a distal pulse is not present and blood flow has stopped.

Bijal Rajput with other team members Junyoung Hwang, Gabriel Margolis, Lavanya Shukla, Dhriti Vij, Bill Zhang, and Jonathan Zheng. (Photo courtesy of Bijal Rajput / Washingtonpost)

About Tourniquet

As defined by Wikipedia, a tourniquet is a constricting or compressing device, specifically a bandage, used to control venous and arterial circulation to an extremity for a period of time. Pressure is applied circumstantially upon the skin and underlying tissues of a limb; this pressure is transferred to the walls of vessels, causing them to become temporarily occluded.

To the layperson, a tourniquet is a cloth - and - stick device used to stop bleeding in an emergency. That is a tourniquet. But modern surgical tourniquets are also much more. Today, surgical tourniquets are specifically designed to enable surgeons to perform delicate dissections in a bloodless operative field.

Image credit: Medical Dictionary (For representative purpose)

A tourniquet is an instrument for temporarily arresting the flow of blood to or from a distal part by pressure applied with an encircling device. To apply a tourniquet for control of arterial bleeding from the arm: Wrap a gauze pad twice with a strip of cloth just below the armpit and tie with a half knot; tie a stick at the knot with a square knot. Slowly twist stick to tighten.

One of the team members has experience as a member of an emergency response team, and told the team how tourniquets are difficult to use properly for people who are not trained. The team then studied articles and found that improper tourniquet use can cause more damage by causing too much or not enough constriction. 

Based on the high amount of violence seen in impoverished areas of the world, the team decided to come up with ideas to improve the design of the tourniquet with a goal of having it used as an emergency response device in areas without access to immediate emergency response or adequate medical training.

The team plans to work on the device both in and out of school and is working on obtaining a patent. They will travel to MIT in June to present their project. The money will help the team move closer to a prototype. The TJHSST team is one of 14 teams nationwide—and the only team in Virginia—selected as an InvenTeam this year. (Source: fcps.edu)

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