Medical Minute: Trinity Health rolls out new trauma device

Published: Apr. 12, 2018 at 3:53 PM CDT
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Trinity Health is the first hospital in the state to use a life-saving technology for trauma patients.

Trinity Health uses what's known as the Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) to save patients who arrive in the emergency room.

The REBOA is used to temporarily stop major internal bleeding in trauma patients.

"What REBOA is, it's a technology that allows us to easily and quickly occlude the large vessels in the chest and abdomen to decrease the incidence of bleeding below the level of the occlusion and allow a surgeon more time to get a critical patient to the operating room,” said Dr. Gary Wease, Trinity Health trauma surgical director.

The previous method was a thoracotomy, where the doctor cracks open the chest to close off a vessel of a severely injured patient. The REBOA allows doctors to use a preventative measure.

"It's less invasive. We can see a patient who's loosing stability slowly and we can proactively put the catheter in, inflate the balloon while we are doing work up, and while we are transporting the patient, because it has low complication rates and because the procedure itself is easily and quickly done,” said Wease.

Patients with declining vital signs, inter-abdominal or pelvic bleeding would receive the REBOA.

Trinity has not yet had a case where they need to use the REBOA, but results from other hospitals tells of its success.

"It definitely increases the overall survival of certain groups of patients and it decreases their length of stay in the hospital,” said Wease.

With many patients coming from long distances, the REBOA allows the team more time to assess injuries.

This year Trinity is better prepared during what's known as trauma season, which is considered to be between Labor Day and Memorial Day.