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NEWS
Broselow Tape Is Undergoing a 21st Century Boost
December 24, 2010

A well-known paper-based medical chart used by pediatric emergency personnel across America is undergoing a 21st century boost in an collaborative effort between Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital and the physician who created the original method some 25 years ago.


At a practice emergency room facility, Dr. Andre A. Muelenaer Jr. (left) and Virginia Tech College of Engineering graduate student Carlos Guevara display the large-screen digital format of the Broselow Tape, developed in conjunction with the college, Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital and the tape’s original creator, James Broselow.

The Broselow Pediatric Emergency Tape – otherwise known as the Broselow Tape — has been a staple of emergency rooms (ER) and child trauma units for nearly three decades. Created by Hickory, N.C.-based physician James Broselow, the Broselow Tape is a long, durable tape measure used on child during a medical emergency. Using a color-coded format, it provides a specific medical instructions – amounts of medicines to dispense or level of shock voltage to emit from a defibrillator, for instance – to medical caregivers based on the height and then subsequent weight of the child.

This information now will be displayed on a large LCD monitor within emergency rooms, for all personnel to see.

“We are converting the existing Broselow Tape into an electronic format to improve resuscitation team communications and patient safety,” said Dr. Andre A. Muelenaer Jr., an associate professor of pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, adjunct professor at Virginia Tech-Wake Forrest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Science, and director of the Pediatric Medical Device Institute, located in Roanoke, Va.

Additional displayed information will include medicines administered to the patient, including the time of administration and the next scheduled allotment. In the instance of burns, an automated calculation of the affected surface area will be displayed, along with automated calculation of fluid resuscitation.

A click of a mouse/remote control can move responders from one screen to another. The software running the newly-dubbed eBroselow software program runs on LabVIEW, owned by National Instruments. Known as TEAM Broselow, the method is being tested at various hospitals, including facilities in Roanoke, Va.; Austin, Texas; and Winston-Salem, N.C., and will be fine tuned as additional input comes in from doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, said Dr. Muelenaer.

Much of the work to digitize the Broselow Tape for display on LCD televisions was completed by Carlos Guevara, a Virginia Tech master’s graduate student in mechanical engineering from El Salvador who recently became an American citizen. Emergency medical personnel still will rely on the physical laminated tape to determine the child’s care-need level, before utilizing the digital display version.

The idea for a digital version of the Broselow Tape came two-fold, hundreds of miles apart. In Hickory, Dr. Broselow was working with a collaborator on a Web-based adaptation as far back as three years ago. Meanwhile, more than a year ago, Stacy Steans, a pediatric physician at Roanoke’s Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, had his own epiphany about converting the paper-based data to a wireless format displayed on a monitor. Eventually, Drs. Steans, and Muelenaer at Carilion, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and Dr. Broselow himself all came together to work on the process.

Funding for the project came from the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.


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