Written by Kevin Volz.
When a person goes into cardiac arrest, every second is critical. It becomes difficult for the body to supply the brain with enough oxygen to prevent permanent damage. In recent years, Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) has become the standard medical treatment for cardiac arrest patients. Using this method, a person’s body is cooled to between 33°C and 36°C in order to reduce the amount of oxygen needed by their brain. Unfortunately, most medical cooling devices are bulky and not available for use in an ambulance or the emergency department, losing precious time to get patients the help they need.
Cryothermic Systems in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed a cooling neck wrap that can be applied in seconds and lasts long enough to bridge the gap between the ambulance and long-term cooling in the hospital intensive care unit. The product works similar to a chemical ice pack, with the user squeezing the pack to mix the water and chemicals. However, the Cryothermic packs cool the patient to 36°C or below. The pack itself reaches below freezing to 24°F (-5°C) for 20 to 30 minutes and has fabric liner to protect skin from harm. The packs can be stored easily in an ambulance and require no refrigeration, equipment or electrical power.
“First responders need a pack that gets colder than anything currently available. That’s why the chemical makeup of our pack is so important,” said Brian Seitz, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Operations at Cryothermic Systems. “The pack instantly becomes cold and stays cold. It takes 10 seconds to initiate patient cooling, allowing first responders to complete this vital step quickly and attend to the other needs of the patient.”
Cryothermic Systems is the brainchild of Dr. Aqeel Sandhu, a cardiothoracic surgeon practicing at Aultman Hospital in Canton. Dr. Sandhu co-developed the cooling system with the team at Cryothermic Systems to get the packs into ambulances and hospitals. Cryothermic Systems received funding from two Ohio Third Frontier partners – the Ohio TechAngel Fund in central Ohio and the North Coast Angel Fund in northeast Ohio. This funding allowed the company to continue their research and expand their sales and marketing efforts.
Cryothermic Systems has a growing list of clients including Allina Health, which announced that it will be using the cooling packs in its 14 hospitals and more than 90 affiliated clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As Cryothermic Systems continues product development, the company will continue working to get their flagship product into as many facilities as possible.
Seitz says northeast Ohio is the ideal place for Cryothermic Systems because of the extensive network of hospitals and healthcare-related companies.
“For medical devices, this is the Silicon Valley of the Midwest,” said Seitz. “Northeast Ohio has excellent infrastructure and talent from area universities. There’s also a strong manufacturing base, so the area has everything we need.”