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Cohen, Greenspan Continue Partnership with Dr. Samet to Increase Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

Cohen, Greenspan Continue Partnership with Dr. Samet to Increase Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

First place team, 2014 Senior Capstone Design Competition
First place team, 2014 Senior Capstone Design Competition

According to the American Heart Association, there are about 568,400 instances of cardiac arrest each year. As patients trend towards cardiac arrest, current cardiac monitoring devices are often unable to provide reliable feedback on the patient’s blood flow. The device limitations force medical providers to rely on a manual pulse check to check the patient’s pulse. However, in a stressful environment, manually checking for a very weak pulse can be inaccurate and time-consuming. Even small delays can have a major effect on patient outcomes; every minute without intervention decreases the patient’s chance of survival by 10 percent.

In efforts to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, Dr. Ron Samet of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center approached a team of University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioegnineering seniors to design his proposed solution of a device to adhere to the patient to provide hands-free, continuous pulse monitoring within the 10 seconds allotted to detect a pulse. Since taking home first place in the department's  2014 Senior Capstone Design Competition last May, two members of the research group – Stefanie Cohen and Shawn Greenspan – have accepted the Susan Fishcell MPowering Entrepreneurship Award to pursue Master of Engineering degrees with the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and to work toward commercializing their project with Dr. Samet. 

“We are excited to work toward commercializing the project because we are gaining the unique experience of customer discovery and entrepreneurial development,” Cohen said. “We have learned a lot about the timeline of medical device development, implementation of equipment into different types of medical systems, and the decision-making processes of customers. Now when we design device features, we incorporate the requirements of end users and decision-makers to ensure a device can be smoothly integrated into a system. We are especially excited to blaze a trail for the commercialization of future capstone projects so students like ourselves can continue developing their ideas post-graduation.”

Featuring a disposable ultrasound patch that can be applied over central arteries and attached or detached from a light, hand-held LCD screen, Samet, Cohen and Greenspan’s device allows the first responder to apply and leave the patch with the patient.

In addition to locating a pulse prior to administering defibrillation, the patch can remain on the patient through CPR to evaluate the effectiveness of compressions. As such, Samet, Cohen and Greenspan believe increased certainty of pulse flow and compression effectiveness will increase cardiac arrest survival rates.

“Code situations are often chaotic, and the ability to assess patient information quickly is very important,” Greenspan said. “By providing accurate blood flow information when other cardiac monitoring devices fail, physicians and nurses can more rapidly diagnose the patient, reduce treatment delay, and further organize patient care. We believe that this increased efficiency will improve the current survival rates.” 

Not surprisingly, the project has garnered a great deal of attention. On Nov. 20, Cohen, Greenspan and Samet were awarded first place, as well as the Audience Choice Award in the Pitch Dingman Competition, hosted twice annually by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship within the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. The trio also recently completed the National Science Foundation-sponsored D.C. Innovation-Corps (I-Corps), an intense five-week program designed to expedite technology transfer and commercialization from regional universities and federal labs, while also jumpstarting technology-based startups in the region. As part of the program, Cohen, Greenspan and Samet conducted 67 interviews with end users, decision-makers and payers in hospital and EMS systems.


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December 3, 2014

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