NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — In the United States, 700 women die every year from labor and delivery complications. The leading cause of maternal death is excessive, unexpected bleeding. But now a high-tech system can alert doctors and nurses in real time if a woman is in danger.
First-time mom, Diana Romano loves spending every moment possible with ten-month old Leo. Romano had a normal, healthy pregnancy, staying on the job as a doctor until right before Leo was due.
“When I went to my 39 week visit I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, so they decided to bring me in that night to be induced,” Romano shared.
Romano had a smooth delivery with no complications. She said that’s the expectation as most women go into the delivery room.
“The majority of the time things go beautifully, but sometimes things can get scary,” Romano stated.
Three percent of all women experience a dangerous hemorrhage during or after labor and delivery. It’s not always easy to tell if a woman is in danger.
Daniel Katz, MD, an Obstetric Anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai said, “The traditional way of monitoring blood loss is done by visual inspection. Meaning we essentially look at the saturated pads and the operative field and make an estimate with our best guess what the blood loss is.” (Read Full Interview)
Now a cutting-edge system called the Triton is taking the guess work out by using an app to analyze the amount of blood on surgical sponges and equipment. Doctors or nurses calibrate the system using a barcode. Then they hold up sponges and pads in front of the computer or iPad camera.
“It will take pictures of surgical sponges and canisters and measure how much hemoglobin is on them,” Dr. Katz explained.
The system tallies how much blood is lost. Doctors decide in real time if a patient needs additional treatment or even a transfusion. It’s a digital eye that Dr. Katz says helps even the most experienced obstetrician and their patients.
Dr. Katz says for anything that can’t be scanned by the app, they use a Bluetooth-enabled smart scale. If a doctor types in the surgical tools that are being weighed, the computer can calculate blood loss that way.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field and Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: TRITON TRACKS BLOOD LOSS AT BIRTH
REPORT: MB #4434
BACKGROUND: A hemorrhage is bleeding or an unusual flow of blood and is one complication that can happen during childbirth. Complications during childbirth and are more likely to happen when the mother has previous health conditions, is older, or is giving birth to more than one child. Previous health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure are common causes of complications. About three percent of women will experience a hemorrhage during labor.
TRADITIONAL METHODS: During a delivery, the amount of blood that is being lost by the mother needs to be evaluated. It’s normal for every woman to lose close to one pint of blood during delivery. The important thing then becomes making sure that more blood is not lost during the delivery. The traditional way to estimate the amount of blood being lost has been the doctor’s observations. The doctor would make a guess on how much blood has been lost based on the saturated pads and the operative field. The complicated thing is that humans are not naturally very good at calculating volumes by sight. Since it’s hard for doctors to tell the amount of blood that’s been lost, the correct actions can’t be taken. Doctors are either underestimating or overestimating the lost blood. Neither of those outcomes are good. Humans tend to overestimate small volumes and underestimate large volumes. Without an accurate measurement, doctors will either act too aggressively when it’s not needed or not realize that a severe problem is happening in the delivery room.
SOLUTION:. Triton is a pair of digital eyes in the delivery room. It scans sponges and canisters and tells the doctors how much hemoglobin is on them. The volume of hemoglobin tells doctors the volume of blood on the sponge and other materials. The Triton system adds all the volumes together and keeps a running tally of the total amount of blood that has been lost. Each hospital has a different threshold on how much blood equals a hemorrhage. It’s usually between 60 to 1,000 ml’s of blood depending on the type of delivery. This technology can sense very small differences in blood volumes that human eyes can’t. Those small amounts can be the difference between a smooth delivery and a hemorrhage.
(Source: Daniel Katz, MD)
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