The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research has developed a novel device for securing medical tubes and catheters intubated within a patient that will prevent damage to the incisors as well as to the soft tissue around the corners of the mouth.
Burn patients often have problems breathing on their own due to scorched esophagi, damaged airways due to smoke inhalation, or organ failures. Therefore, it becomes necessary to intubate the patient so that they can breathe. Patients have lost their incisors due to prolonged forceful clamping of the jaw on the semi-rigid bite block. This new device moves the bite blocks (one for each side) from the front teeth to the molars, to capitalize on the greater strength of these teeth to prevent tooth damage. Positioning the bite blocks at the molars also prevents the incisor teeth from biting and occluding the endotracheal or nasogastric tubes.
In addition to the potential loss of teeth, the current method of securing endotracheal tubes often leaves patients with cuts or tears in and around their mouths. This device prevents damage by attaching the bite blocks to a framework that protrudes from the patient’s mouth and that provides attachment sites for straps to secure the device to the patient, and a track-and-clamp system to secure the endotracheal or nasogastric tubes. The attachment sites are an improvement in capability over the current state of the art, in which the tubes are taped to the bite block and the combined structure is then taped to the patient.
The Army is seeking a partner interested in commercializing this technology.