Inducing Mild Hypothermia as a Neurological Therapy
When a person goes into cardiac arrest, there’s a loss of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain. This condition is known as ischemia. If the person is resuscitated, the return of blood flow to the brain is called reperfusion. Depending on the time between loss and restoration of blood flow, ischemia/reperfusion events injure cells, cause brain damage, and can result in death—the longer the time that blood flow is lost to the brain, the more severe the damage, injury, or effect on the mortality of the patient. However, lowering the brain temperature to induce mild hypothermia can significantly lessen the physical impact of ischemia/reperfusion events, which occur as a result of cardiac arrest and loss of blood flow during neurosurgical procedures. BeneChill, Inc., tasked Nectar with developing the RhinoChill® IntraNasal Cooling System to meet this need.
Overcoming temperature reduction technology limitations
To overcome the limitations of other temperature reduction technologies, such as water-filled blankets, pads, and intravascular cooling devices—which often get in the way of resuscitation efforts and do not cool the brain fast enough, Nectar focused on using the nasal cavity, the body’s natural heat exchanger, to rapidly cool the brain. The RhinoChill IntraNasal Cooling System also had to be compact and easy to use to support deployment by first-responsders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and emergency room personnel, without impeding resuscitation efforts.
Comprehensive product development
Nectar conducted extensive research on competitive products, patient environments, EMT usage/training, and ambulance vehicle environments before developing the RhinoChill concept. Leveraging field research on user interaction, form factor optimization, usability studies, and mockups, Nectar created the industrial design for the RhinoChill, then performed finite element analyses, conducted configuration studies, managed prototype testing, and generated the bill of materials (BOM) and production drawing package for the product.
Saving lives, improving outcomes
The Rhinochill IntraNasal Cooling System is easy to use, portable, and compact. Currently available in the European market, the system’s trans-nasal evaporative manner of cooling is recognized in the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines as an appropriate means to induce therapeutic hypothermia. Despite being successfully resuscitated, two out of three people who suffer a cardiac arrest die as a result of brain damage. By inducing therapeutic, the RhinoChill is improving survival rates as well as the quality of life for resuscitation survivors.
The RhinoChill design has been so successful that it won 2012 Critical Care and Emergency Medicine Product of the Year category prize in the MEDTEC EMDT Innovation Awards.