Bioengineers at the University of Washington are developing a new hand-held ultrasound device that they say can penetrate deep inside a human organ and stop bleeding without damaging surrounding tissue.
This high intensity ultrasound uses much more energy than traditional ultrasound and produces heat that can reach the temperature of boiling water in a matter of seconds. The intense heat can help stop uncontrollable bleeding, the cause of 30 to 40 percent of trauma deaths.
While demonstrating the device, University of Washington Bioengineer Shahram Vaezy, Ph.D., explained, "This is a gel that mimics a human organ, the human body, and you can see how we have deposited energy deep in the gel without causing any damage on the surface."
Grant O'Keefe, MD, a trauma surgeon added, "It has the ability to get at and to stop bleeding that we would consider in many ways inaccessible...Bleeding that might be in difficult areas in the chest."
The ultrasound device is still under study, but Dr. O'Keefe says that hospitals will see the benefits first and that in the future there will likely be a portable ultrasound device for paramedics to treat internal bleeding at the scene of an accident.