For their senior design project, a team of biomedical engineering students designed a method to induce hypothermia in patients who have experienced temporary loss of circulation.

Therapeutic hypothermia, or the controlled reduction of core body temperature to 32-34⁰C for an extended period, has been proven to increase the survival rate of patients who have experienced temporary loss of circulation, or ischemia. Although recently advocated as an important lifesaving procedure by the American Heart Association, therapeutic hypothermia is often underused due to lack of efficient resources, difficulties with current methods, and high costs.

There are many methods to induce hypothermia, and competitive products exist on the market; however these are inefficient and often pose elevated risk to the patient. Therefore, the goal of this team’s project was to design a system to more quickly, efficiently, and safely induce hypothermia in patients.

To accomplish this, their design combines two current methods to induce hypothermia: intravenous (IV) injection of cooled saline solution and surface cooling. The system includes a device to rapidly cool a standard 1.0L IV bag within 20 minutes to allow for rapid initiation of therapy, an IV infusion subsystem carefully controlled to deliver the cooled IV solution at a specified rate, a theoretical cooling blanket, and a central control unit/guided user interface to constantly monitor and display patient temperature, and to safely automate induction of hypothermia. Overall, the project meets the goal toward a more integrated and marketable device to promote the lifesaving technique of therapeutic hypothermia.


Team members, left to right: Jeffrey Sugar, engineer; Kyle Ewert, engineer; Lindsey Youngs, associate project manager; Katelyn Herrmann, project manager

Faculty advisor: Dr. Jeffrey LaMack


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