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Global Health Challenge:


Diarrhea-induced dehydration is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. Patients with diarrhea as well as malaria and dengue fever are at risk for dehydration. Combined, these conditions are responsible for the deaths of up to 1.4 million children under five years of age annually. Severe cases of dehydration are treated with IV fluid therapy. However, one risk of IV therapy in low-resource settings is over-hydration, particularly for babies and young children who require low volumes of fluid. Over-hydration can lead to complications and death.  Due to the risk of over-hydration, the World Health Organization recommends that children who are severely dehydrated are given rapid IV therapy only with close monitoring. However, it is difficult to ensure that patients are constantly monitored to stop fluid administration at the appropriate time due to a limited availability of trained staff. In developed countries, infusion or elastomeric pumps and burettes are commonly used to regulate delivery of IV therapy to pediatric patients; but these are too costly and not appropriate for many developing world healthcare settings. These approaches are costly, require routine maintenance, consumables that are not generally available in the developing world, and electrical power that may not be reliable.


Rice 360° Solution:


The team at Rice 360° has designed a low-cost, mechanical volume regulator to limit the volume of fluid dispensed during rehydration therapy. The device does not require any consumables, and results from non-clinical testing show that it is accurate across a wide range of flow rates and targeted volumes.  The device is entirely mechanical. By adjusting the position of a counterweight, clinicians can deliver between 50 and 950 mL of IV fluids from any-sized IV bag or container in 50 mL increments. Once the fluid is delivered, the tubing will automatically kink and prevent over-hydration.


Current Status and Next Steps:


The accuracy of the device was evaluated in the laboratory at a range of clinically relevant flow rates. The device was accurate in all tests and the average accuracy in all tests was within 12 mL.  The device underwent a usability trial at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi where nurses rated the ease-of-use as “excellent”. The IV Drip device has now been approved for a prospective clinical study in the pediatric ward of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.




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