PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Biomedical and Health Engineering

A Fiber-Optic Imager With Head-Up Display For Increased Safety During Routine and Emergency Placement Of Tubes Within The Human Airway

Principal Investigators: Alan Rosenbloom, Gary Fedder

Many medical procedures and most surgeries under general anesthesia require the placement of a tube into the trachea so that pressurized air and oxygen can be supplied to the patient. The placement of this tube into the airway is known as endotracheal intubation, or just simply “intubation”. It is a commonly performed task with nearly 8 million per year in the U.S.. In many emergency settings where there is a life-threatening loss of oxygen delivery to the brain, as seen in malfunction of the brain, heart, lungs or circulation, emergent access to the airway for oxygen deliver is required to save the life of the patient. Between 1 – 5% of routine and 10 – 30 % of emergency intubations are difficult. These can result in a delay in oxygen delivery to the brain, brain damage and even death. The device under development in this project uses head-up display and fiberoptic technology to create a method of securing the airway that integrates seamlessly with current medical practice and training.