- Filed Under
With an eye on lightening the load for its field medical teams, the Marine Corps wants to find a tough, portable system to administer anesthesia in austere expeditionary environments.
Anesthesia is used to induce unconsciousness and alleviate pain so medical procedures can be performed.
Marine Corps Systems Command wants a "field ruggedized and modernized" anesthesia machine that weighs less than 10 pounds and is compact, about the size of a cube that fits on your hand, according to a Nov. 4 request for information from the defense industry. It would replace the older, heavier and bulkier draw-over vaporizers, or DOVs, now used by the services.
Officials at MARSYSCOM and the Naval Medical and Health research centers want to find out what kinds of devices companies have on the market and may consider similar products.
"There are some portable systems available on the market, but most are still very large and heavy, and not ruggedized. These same systems typically have to operate with dedicated ventilators and support equipment," Marine officials said in a written response to questions from Marine Corps Times. DOV machines used in field hospitals can weigh as much as 200 pounds.
Navy and Marine officials want a device that's easily carried and can be used by units, such as shock trauma platoons, that operate closer to frontline units but farther from supporting commands and field hospitals.
The DOV systems, developed in the 1940s, are outdated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration no longer approves them for use and has restricted their use in training.
"The only unit cleared for marketing in the United States went out of production ... in about 2007," said Shoshona Pilip-Florea, a Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery spokeswoman in Falls Church, Va. "Since then, the DoD has been going to extraordinary efforts to keep the existing units serviceable."
Anesthesia machines also are used to deliver painkillers. So getting an effective replacement also will help frontline medical teams aid the wounded and support "Marine Corps initiatives to provide pain management to injured war fighters as soon as possible following injury," Pilip-Florea said.
MARSYSCOM officials are confident a smaller, lighter and compact system can be effective. The Marine Corps will seek FDA approval for the replacement system, and it could be adopted by all the services as "the Army and the Air Force have expressed interest in the technology."