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14 coolest products from EMS World Expo 2012

This year's show in New Orleans featured a range of interesting devices and technology for EMS providers

New Orleans was a great host to EMS World Expo 2012. The food and fun there are always pretty hard to beat. There were also some great new EMS products on show, too.  

The new ReadyLink from Physio-Control is a highly simplified, stand-alone 12-lead ECG machine. It makes acquiring and transmitting a good 12 lead almost child's play. I watched while they simulated taking and sending the ECG by pushing only about three buttons.

It won't replace a more full-featured device for ALS. But the ReadyLink could really expand early STEMI notification for thousands of rural BLS providers with a bare minimum of training.

I could also see this becoming popular for private physicians offices and clinics whenever an MI is suspected. In these situations, the cardiologist could be looking at the ECG before the ambulance even arrives.

Photo courtesy Physio-Control 

There were three cool new airway devices. The Airtraq Avant is a brand-new version of the Airtraq. Its strength is a much lower cost with no expensive capital equipment. It permits an optically guided and confirmed endotracheal intubation.

Photo courtesy Airtraq Avant

It features a reusable internal optics component and new low-cost disposable blades. This new design turns the proven Airtraq product into a much more affordable device. They even have a Docking Station and Wireless Camera option available.

IntuBright displayed a new video-laryngoscopy system. The new IntuBright VLS is a brand new video system with an amazing range of options. It offers near high-definition images, which can even be recorded with a removable SD card.

Photo courtesy IntuBright

The VLS offers three different blade sizes for nearly any size patient. The screen can be on your handle or detached, and the image can be exported. It offers their patented lighting system and an impressive 3.5-hour battery life.

Another new video-intubation device is the VividTrac. It is a completely disposable device, which connects to a laptop. It looks like a big Berman airway with a channel for your ETT and with a USB cord attached. You download and install their free software, and then plug and play.

Photo courtesy Vividtrac

A big trend at the show was all the new products for patient handling. It seems like all the different lifting challenges are being broken down into individualized product solutions. A couple that caught my eye was the Doty Belt and the HILT.

The Doty Belt is best described as handles to put on the patient. It looks like a lifting belt, but it is for the victim and not the rescuer. Once quickly and conveniently attached, it provides four comfortable grip handles around your patient's waist.

Photo courtesy Doty Belt

The quality of construction was excellent. It looks like all load-bearing hardware made more like a rescue harness than a typical lifting belt. The Doty Belt could make some difficult situations much more manageable.

The HILT is for seated or prone patients. It looks like a soft stretcher made of rugged seat-belt grade webbing. You just fold or unfold to fit your patient and their position. Then it provides a range of secure grip locations at different heights.

Photo courtesy HILT

It offers the length required to reduce bending over so much to lift. The HILT could help make lifting easier and reduce back injuries. Each rescuer gets a custom fit to their height and arm length. Once you get it underneath the patient, you can just leave it there to make the next move easier.

There were a couple of other new patient handling products that almost made it to EMS World Expo but didn't. Instead, I talked to the manufacturers and got an exclusive sneak peek at some early pictures and specs.

One is the new AIR BEAR from BEAR-iatrics Inc. For those unfamiliar, the BEAR helps center the mass of an obese patient on a standard cot. The new AIR BEAR is for doing the exact same thing on a narrower aeromedical stretcher.

Photo courtesy BEAR-iatrics Inc.

Developed in conjunction with one of the nation's leading air medical services, the AIR BEAR has a few new features. One is that it also prevents horizontal shifting in the event of an auto-rotation.

Another product I learned about at the show is the latest 500-pound version of the EZLift Backboard. The original EZLift was overbuilt to begin with. The combination of FRP material and innovative design creates the strongest backboard I've ever seen.

Photo courtesy EZLift

The big advantage of the EZLift is the retractable end handles. They have the potential to reduce many common back injuries.

Lifting a backboard off the ground is one of the most dangerous lifts we do. It means reaching all the way to ground level, which exposes the low back to injury. The latest version will make this device more affordable and several pounds lighter.

I saw a new traction splint that was really original. When I first glanced at the Slishman Traction Splint, I thought it was another copy of the "tent-pole" type compact splint. It is a whole lot more and the first new traction splint design I've seen in years.

Photo courtesy Slishman

Inside the carbon fiber pole is a leveraged traction mechanism that is very easy to use. It provides dynamic variable traction with a simple hidden rope and pulley system. The Slishman also has a real clever ankle hitch and is adaptable to either adults or children.

There were two new Pediatric Ventilators introduced. One was a specialized pressure ventilator for infants and smaller children Neoforce. It provides safe and effective ventilation while being very simple to use.

Another new pediatric ventilator is the pNeuton Mini.


Photo courtesy Airon

The Mini is a full-featured device that provides a much more precise and flexible range of settings and functions. It offers all the sophistication one would ever need for children, built on a rugged, reliable, and compact platform.

Blauer introduced a new line of nanotechnology-coated uniforms. These new high-tech garments have a built-in Active Barrier Protection from Vestagen called Vestex.

The partnership of Blauer with Vestagen produced an EMS uniform that repels fluids, improves wearer comfort and contains an antimicrobial. They sprayed a guy's legs who was wearing it, and the water just ran off almost like rainwear.

Blue Shield Technologies introduced a versatile disinfecting nanotech coating called Oxititan. It is a permanent photo-activated broad-spectrum antimicrobial coating.

It can be applied to fabrics and other hard or soft surfaces. You could even spray trauma bags and other easily contaminated gear. It can also be used to decontaminate the air inside an ambulance's existing HVAC system with a special light source from Blue Shield Technologies .

In addition, I learned about the new EMSAR CORE Anti-Idle system that can be retrofitted to existing ambulances.

Once the unit is placed into park, the CORE system automatically begins monitoring the temperature inside the vehicle and the battery banks. When the temperature and voltage are within the pre-set ranges, the system will turn off the vehicle's engine.

Photo courtesy EMSAR CORE

The CORE reduces fuel and oil consumption by automatically managing your emergency vehicles idle time.

Close note
During the time of the show, Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, preventing many attendees and exhibitors from flying to New Orleans. However, there were still some interesting new products on display.

Those I highlighted in this article are just a few of the more memorable ones that I expect to hear a lot more about in the future. The great food and new friends we made in New Orleans this year were, as always, the very best parts of the trip.

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