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Top 10 new EMS products of 2011

The two big clinical areas to benefit have been airway management and ventilation

2011 was an exciting year full of technological advances in EMS. Many highly sophisticated new devices were introduced, each taking years to develop. It has been pretty amazing, with so many new high-technology devices coming out in a single year.

The two big clinical areas to benefit have been airway management and ventilation. EMS product manufacturers have finally solved two stubborn problems. One of them is how to make video-laryngoscopy less expensive and easier for paramedics to use; the other is how to make sophisticated transport ventilators street-rugged.

But the top new products are not limited to these two categories.

Photo McGrath Mac
Photo McGrath Mac

We have also seen the introduction of some very clever and elegantly simple EMS products. The kinds that work in the field, often developed by people from our industry. Here are my selections for the most innovative and significant new EMS products introduced this year.

1) The McGrath Mac is a second-generation video-laryngoscope building on the legacy of the McGrath Series 5. A single solid structure houses a light source and reinforced CameraStick. It's a single curved piece of stainless steel that runs into and becomes the frame of the grip. They built this thing to hold up on the street.

It has a very inexpensive clear disposable "blade" in two sizes. The thing I like best about the McGrath Mac is the broad field of view. You are able to pick up the ET tube onscreen almost immediately, which makes it much easier to direct the tube to the target anatomy.

2) The King Vision video-laryngoscope is another extremely portable advanced airway tool. The King Vision is a two-piece system: a reusable compact screen and a handle with disposable blades. They have two different types of blades. One has a channel that holds the ET tube, and guides it through the vocal cords without a stylet.

The other is a non-channeled, more traditional style blade. This permits the left hand scope, right hand ET tube approach that is most familiar to clinicians. The King Vision can be used either like an introducer in a manner similar to the Pentax Airway Scope or AirTraq, or like a standard video-laryngoscope like the Glidescope Ranger or McGrath Mac.

3) The new 731 series EMV+ from Impact Instrumentation is a true Critical Care Transport ventilator. It is capable of quite simply anything and everything you might ever need from a transport ventilator. The list of features and functions is extensive, despite the diminutive size and ultra-light 9.5-pound weight.

The EMV+ features include a robust built-in compressor and blender, 10-hour battery life, volume and pressure ventilation modes, and integrated SPO2, to name only a few. Another feature of the EMV+ is Bi-Level airway pressure support, a better form of CPAP therapy. It is the most responsive CPAP I've ever seen. If you do aero medical or lots of CCT work and need a ventilator, this one needs to be on your short list. 

Photo Jamie Thompson

4) Smiths Medical has a new completely re-designed version of their legendary ParaPac, the ParaPac Plus 310. The ParaPac is the original UK-engineered Paramedic ventilator. It offers independent control of rate, volume, and pressure on a proven pneumatic platform. Now it weighs less and will come with CPAP.

This value-priced emergency ventilator does almost everything a Medic would ever need, except for neonates and critical care transports. If you want a durable and street proven EMS ventilator that is fast and easy to use, then the ParaPac Plus 310 is a great choice.

5) Another new ventilator is from Hamilton Medical. The new Hamilton-T1 is one of the more sophisticated mobile ICU ventilators. Unlike most other adult ventilators, this one can also truly handle pediatrics, delivering volumes down to 20ml. It has some truly revolutionary features. It offers six different modes of ventilation, including one that is both diagnostic and interventional.

The machine senses increased resistance or reduced compliance, and then automatically alters I time and E Time to better accommodate patient needs. It has a built-in blender, and every other imaginable option including a touch screen interface, while still remaining under six kilos in weight.

6) Laerdal Medical introduced the MamaNatalie Birthing Simulator. This clever simulation contraption straps on to the front of a real women. It provides a strikingly realistic OB emergency/delivery experience. It is great for training control of post-partum hemorrhage, the number one cause of maternal death in childbirth. It is so realistic that I've seen EMTs and Medics actually start to sweat as they approached the scenario.

7) SAM Medical introduced the SAM Chest Seal. The SAM Chest Seal is a self-adherent occlusive dressing, an open chest wound seal with a built in one-way valve. Once decompression is achieved (or if inhospitable environments present), you can seal it up with an included snap-on sealing cap. This is a huge improvement over Saran Wrap.

8) ESO QuickSpeak from ESO Solutions is a Windows-based computer program that translates English into different languages including Spanish, Chinese, Indian, French and German. Nine more languages are in development. QuickSpeak includes hundreds of questions per language, in more than 20 different categories.

You can click on "Where do you hurt?" and it speaks to the patient in their language, who can then point to the injury location. For anyone ever stymied by language challenges, this is a real lifesaver. It allows EMS providers to get a decent assessment done quickly in languages they can’t speak.

Photo Jamie Thompson

9) Hartwell Medical introduced a high performance, value priced vacuum mattress. I think it's a much-improved design, now able to form into the perfect CID.  is a moldable, forming full body splint. You mold the shape around the victim while suctioning out the air, to create a solid customized full body splint.

The FASPLINT is a moldable, forming full body splint. You mold the shape around the victim while suctioning out the air, to create a solid customized full body splint.

It results in fewer pressure points and less discomfort while effectively immobilizing injuries of the neck and spine. Vacuum devices have long been a preferred method of full body immobilization in Europe

10) Gerber Outerwear introduced the Extreme Parka, an exciting new EMS coat design. The Extreme Parka is a great looking coat with a waterproof breathable shell. It meets both ANSI F1671 bloodborne pathogen standard and the ANSI 107 Class 3 high-visibility safety standard.

While affording full blood borne pathogen protection, it does not carry the typically pricey NFPA certification. Instead they use the less expensive but functionally comparable ASTM F1671 standard and pass the savings on to their customers.

Editor's note: Have we missed anything on this list of 2011's top new EMS products? If so, tell us what we left out in the comments below.

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