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Emergency cooling vest could reduce risk of brain damage for heart attack victims

Sport & Fitness

Researchers at the Hohenstein Institute in Germany have developed a vest fitted with cooling pads that could provide timely help in the case of a cardiac arrest.

The ability to react quickly in the case of a serious medical emergency can be vital, and we recently saw the Rapid Rescue app attempt to connect those having an attack with first aiders located nearby. Now researchers at the Hohenstein Institute in Germany have developed a cooling vest that could provide timely help to reduce the risk of brain damage for those who have suffered a heart attack. When a cardiac arrest occurs, the brain ceases to receive blood from the heart, leading to an oxygen deficit that can cause irreversible neurological damage if not dealt with within the minutes following the attack. One way to slow down this effect is to reduce the core temperature of the body immediately after resuscitation. The vest developed by the Hohenstein Institute team consists of textile pads which, much like existing gel-based ice packs, uses the chemical reaction that occurs between the mineral zeolite and water to provide instantaneous cooling. Tests show that application of the vest is able to produce a reduction in body temperature between 32 degrees to 34 degrees Celsius. The researchers suggest that the portable and non-invasive nature of the vests mean that they could be positioned in public places and on buses, trains and planes to ensure that heart attack sufferers have a reduced risk of brain damage in the time between the incident and getting to a hospital. Combined with platforms such as the Rapid Rescue app, this device could provide vital assistance in the case of an emergency. Civic leaders – one to implement in your region?



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