part 1 (of 2 or 3) on the LifeWrap
Postpartum hemorrhage is the major killer of women in the developing world (one woman every four minutes dies this way). One of the key issues is the speed with which an anemic woman can lose her life if she is not provided life-saving care. Often women are lost in transit to a facility that could have provided the care.
But what if you could ‘buy time’—stabilizing the woman until she reaches a higher level facility. This is the idea behind the LifeWrap, a device we’ve followed and think is a potential game changer for women’s survival…
The LifeWrap, also called the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment is a kind of wetsuit that velcros around a woman experiencing hemorrhage and ‘buys her time’--Time to get to a higher level health facility with life-saving drugs and blood transfusion. Suellen Miller of UCSF is leading clinical trials of the device in both Egypt and Nigeria to determine how this intervention compares to current practice. Two key studies of the LifeWrap device came out in late 2009—one from Nigeria and one from Egypt.
Though much more could be written (and will be), to sum up, maternal mortality and morbidity was lower with the use of the LifeWrap. The authors report that in both studies “the measured blood loss was significantly lower for women treated with the NASG:78% lower in Nigeria and 50% lower in Egypt.”
The study also found that uterine atony (failure of the uterus to contract)—and a major cause of postpartum hemorrhage—was the cause of hemorrhage in only 30% of the cases studied. The more that is understood about the reasons for postpartum hemorrhage the better.