Condom and Catheter Team up to Save New Mothers’ Lives

The title is sure to draw a snicker from some readers, but the purpose of this field-expedient treatment for postpartum hemorrhage is deadly serious, and a true medical hack that has the potential to save the lives of new mothers.

Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of death during pregnancy, claiming about 86,000 women every year. While it can occur up to six weeks after giving birth, PPH is most serious immediately after delivery and can require aggressive treatment to prevent hypovolemic shock and eventual death. A fully equipped obstetrical suite will have access to an array of medications and devices to staunch the flow, including a uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) kit. But at $400 a kit, these devices are hard to come by in the developing world.

Not to be dissuaded, midwife [Anne Mulinge] from Nairobi, Kenya created a simple, cheap substitute using common items. A common urinary catheter is covered with an ordinary condom, the end of which is secured around the catheter with twine. Once inserted into the woman’s uterus, the condom is filled with saline solution through the catheter, expanding the condom and applying direct pressure to the bleeding uterine walls. The pressure allows the mother’s clotting mechanism to catch up with the decreased blood flow.

So far, [Anne] claims the device has saved three new mothers, and other midwives are being trained in the technique. Here’s hoping that more lives are saved with this simple hack, and perhaps with this more complex one designed to get blood to remote clinics as fast as possible.

Thanks to [LP Bing] for the tip.

A Digital Condom a Reality Thanks to Arduino

[Bill Gates]’ foundation is currently offering up a ton of prizes for anyone who can improve the condom. It’s a laudable goal, and somewhat difficult; one of the main reasons why male condoms aren’t used as often as they should is the,  “male perspective… that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom.”

While most of the work inspired by the [Gates] foundation is work investigating a change in the geometry of the condom, [Firaz Peer] and [Andrew Quitmeyer] of Georgia Tech managed to solve this problem with an Arduino.

The basic idea of the Electric Eel – yes, that’s the name – is to deliver short electric impulses, “along the underside of the shaft for increased stimulation”. These impulses are delivered in response to different sensor inputs – in the video example (surprisingly safe for work) they’re using a force resistor wrapped around the chest for an electrical stimulation with every breath.

Although this is only a prototype, the hope is the conductors in the condom can eventually be implanted along the inside surface of a condom during manufacturing.

Video after the break.

Continue reading “A Digital Condom a Reality Thanks to Arduino”

Hackaday links: April 18, 2010

Remote motion control

This project walks though a method of controlling motors with an accelerometer when the two are physically separated. Two Arduinos are used, with the user interface and the motor control connected via Ethernet. This must be useful for something; maybe it should be the next step once you get your accelerometer up and running.

CNC machine build

[Lucassiglo21] is doing a great job documenting his CNC build. The project has been ongoing for several months. He’s seeing some success with milling simple PCBs along with other millwork projects.

Condom starts a fire

Ever needed to start a fire and had nothing on you but a condom? Yeah, we haven’t either but that doesn’t diminish the fun of this whimsical ‘Condom Hack Pack‘ video. See the uses you never thought of for those rubbery package protectors.

Solderless PCB

Print your component locations on a piece of card stock and populate the board without any soldering? This is quick and convenient for a circuit that doesn’t need to last very long. It uses wire wrapping to connect the components, completing the circuit. [Thanks Frogz]