Army asks industry to develop wearable sensor to help care for military burn victims on the front lines

FORT DETRICK, Md. † US military battlefield medicine experts ask industry for a robust manual device that measures the severity of burn injuries in wounded soldiers to help medical personnel determine the best triage and treatment in field hospitals.

Officials from the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) in Summerville, SC, applied Friday for project proposals (MTEC-22-08-BDA) for the Burn Digital Assessment project.

The project aims to develop a portable rugged sensor able to measure the severity of burns by calculating the size and depth of the burn, including how much of the victim’s body has been burned and at what depths.

This portable device is intended for Army battalion relief posts, brigade relief posts, forward CPR and surgical detachments and field hospitals to inform triage, evacuation, and resources to help reduce the surgical burden to get wounded soldiers back to work.

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The MTEC is making this request on behalf of the Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The MTEC is an industry, academia, and nonprofit organization that develops medical solutions that prevent and treat injuries and restore warfighters to full health.

Future military actions are likely to result in a higher casualty rate with significant burn injuries — including larger, more severe burns, army researchers say. This requires medical providers to manage burn victims for extended periods in the field close to combat.

Military medical personnel will have to decide how best to resuscitate these victims and who should be given priority in the evacuation. Today’s field hospitals have only minimal resources for burn treatment, so determining CPR needs and evacuation priority can affect return to duty and survivability.

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It is a huge challenge for medical providers in the distant future to assess the severity of burns, because they can only estimate the depth and severity of burns. This is where a new digital rating device comes in.

This portable device can help medical personnel quickly evacuate victims of severe burns, while avoiding unnecessary evacuation for victims with minor burns who could be treated closer to their units.

Such a handheld burn assessment device must have FDA approval for assessing the size and depth of burns; measure the size of a burn in terms of total body surface area; be able to measure the proportion of total body surface area for burns; be painless; easy to use; provide output information within minutes; is compatible with other burns and life-saving treatments; has minimum educational requirements; follows military cybersecurity requirements; and could become a commercially viable product.

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Those selected for the project will distribute a whopping $4.8 million over two years; various contract awards are expected. Interested companies must be MTEC members to submit white papers or formal proposals.

Interested parties must submit five-page white papers by July 14, 2022. Email MTEC to verify membership status at: [email protected]† Information about participating in MTEC is online at: www.mtec-sc.org/how-to-join-2

Email questions or comments to MTEC at: [email protected]† More information is available online at https://www.mtec-sc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/MTEC-22-08-BDA-RPP-Final.pdf

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