When the brain is deprived of oxygen–as is the case with a heart attack or a stroke–there is a distinct possibility of permanent brain damage. A prototype cooling vest and zeolite chamber aims to prevent as much brain damage as possible.
In the hospital setting, medical professionals use something called “therapeutic hypothermia” with such patients, working to reduce their body temperature with chilled water blankets or cold drip catheters. Outside the hospital, though, what can you do to keep the patient as cool as possible in the instance of a cardiac arrest?
Developed by Hohenstein Institute in Germany, the prototype has water-filled cooling pads. These pads are then connected by a hose to a vacuum-pressurized metal container with zeolites, special silicate minerals that can rapidly extract heat from water. When activated, the water circulates through the zeolite chamber and gets to a near-freezing temperature very quickly. The vest is put on the patient and, hopefully, you’re able to get the core temperature down to 32-34C (89.3-93.2F).
The research team sees these vests being deployed in public buildings where anyone can access them in the case of an emergency. They’re currently looking for an industrial partner to further develop and hopefully launch the product.