Mac engineering students developing glove for CPR

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Two engineering students from McMaster University have designed a glove to help people perform CPR, but some First Aid trainers are concerned it could do more harm than good.

The one-size-fits-all glove contains sensors and chips to measure the depth and frequency of chest compressions when a person is administering CPR to a cardiac arrest victim. The glove, which can be stored in First Aid kits or glove compartments, was created by fourth-year electrical and biomedical engineering students Nilesh Patel and Corey Centen. It features a digital display so people know whether they’re doing the compressions properly.

“The glove is trying to guide the user through the process " tell them the optimal parameters,” Patel said.

Patel and Centen found a study suggesting people forget how to perform CPR effectively six months after training and often compressions were performed too slow and too shallow to be effective.

New protocols for emergency response in the last few years have made CPR training and techniques simpler to learn and remember, said Linda Barr, a First Aid trainer and co-ordinator with St. John Ambulance in London.

Barr’s main concern is the glove may reduce people’s confidence in their own abilities.

“It may scare more people into thinking they can’t [perform CPR] perfectly,” Barr said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be a quick response. You will have a lot more positive effect than running back to your car to get your glove... every second you delay and hold back, you’re risking the opportunity to actually save that person’s life and their brain function.”

Barr said people’s primary fear when applying CPR is that they will make the situation worse. But when a person has no pulse, isn’t breathing or isn’t responding, the situation can’t be any worse, Barr said.

Patel thinks the glove will reassure people and tell them if they’re performing correctly.

Ben Perlman, a First Aid and CPR examiner for the Lifesaving Society and a second-year Western student, said through practice CPR should become second nature. He’s concerned people will become preoccupied with the glove.

“Now you have to worry about putting the glove on... making sure it’s functioning properly,” he said. “Time is of the essence here.”

Patel said paramedics put on gloves too, and that as soon as the glove is put on, it immediately guides users through the process.

“It’s still in design,” Patel said. “There’s a lot of improvement that’s going to be done.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette