Abdominal Suspension During Surgery


Member profile details

Membership level
2011-2012 Team
Team Name
Project Title
Abdominal Suspension During Surgery
Design Challenge
Obese patients are prone to respiratory perioperative complications during all surgical procedures requiring them to lie on their back. The weight of their abdominal tissue necessitates increased respiratory effort in order to maintain adequate blood oxygen saturation levels. Oftentimes the surgeon will need to stop the surgical procedure in order to intubate or reverse sedation of the patient to restore blood oxygen saturation. Our challenge is to develop a “suspension” device that will support the patient’s abdominal tissue in order to aid in respiratory function during surgery. A successful device will be able to relieve the pressure from the patient's chest thus allowing him/her to breathe on his/her own so that the surgeon will not need to stop the surgery.
Design Summary
Respiratory Aides (R-Aides) will design and validate a suspension device that will be able to support the weight of abdominal tissue during surgery at the request of design sponsors at the Texas Heart Institute.

Upon consultation with surgeons in the field, observing a procedure during which the device would be used, and researching current techniques, the following design criteria was established. The device must:

• Occupy minimal space in the operating room.
• Be able to be transported in the hospital environment.
• Be simple enough for someone with a high school education to set up and operate.
• Fit patients of a variety of girths.
• Be capable of supporting a minimum of thirty pounds continuously.
• Effectively minimize perioperative respiratory complications.
• Neither result in adverse effects nor require additional hospitalization time.

In the development of our design, we focused on two elements of the device: the interface with the skin and the creation of a sturdy anchorage. Because no such device exists on the market, we brainstormed a variety of ideas, particularly for the former element, and used a decision matrix followed by a Pugh matrix to narrow down our options. As of February 2012, R-aides has constructed a prototype which employ the suction methodologies without supporting frame. It has passed weight test which showed that it can support up to thirty pounds of mass and is scheduled for bruising and durability tests. The results of these tests will base our decision to continue to human testing on the data collected. While the human model will provide the most accurate quantitative data, the purpose of the three preliminary tests is to eliminate methodologies that would be dangerous or harmful to our volunteers. The final device will come complete with a user safety and instruction manual, and will be ready for implementation in April 2012.

Last Updated: 12/09/2011
Texas Heart Institute
  • Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Maria Oden
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Mehdi Razavi

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