MAY 2015


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MAY 2015 102 CompositesWorld M A Y 2 0 1 5 1 0 2 Flexible, portable HBOT chamber The HematoCare, a new, transportable hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber developed by Groupe Médical Gaumond (GMG, Montréal, QC, Canada) features a collapsible flament wound aramid fber/polyurethane chamber (see inset) capable of handling pressures previously reached only by rigid systems. GMG's CEO Claude Gaumond initially launched the unit with a decorative, protective fabric covering in blue (shown here), silver, pink and red with matching HDPE cases, but will supply it in nearly any color. Because HBOT sessions can last 60-90 minutes, the chamber also has piped-in sound (via earphones) and home-theater capabilities. Source | Groupe Médical Gaumond FOCUS ON DESIGN Uncompromising composite hyperbaric oxygen chamber closes the gap Flexible, filament-wound composite reduces weight and cost, increases performance of first transportable high-pressure oxygen-delivery system. » An established medical procedure, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), temporarily delivers pure oxygen to a patient under higher-than-atmospheric pressure, enabling blood to carry more oxygen, which, in turn, helps fght infection, stimulates release of growth factors and stem cells and speeds healing. Most notably used to treat divers aficted with decompression sickness (the "bends"), it's employed routinely to treat altitude sickness, severe anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning and many other medical conditions — and to enhance the performance of elite athletes. HBOT requires a hyperbaric chamber. Large multi-person units resemble hospital rooms, where patients receive oxygen via facemask or clear hood while sitting or lying down. Much smaller, single-person systems come in rigid and fexible formats, and treat patients as they recline inside a narrow tubular chamber. Rigid (hard-shelled) systems can reach pressures up to 3 atmo- sphere absolute (ATA; that is, three times normal atmospheric pressure) and weigh up to 1,500 kg. Permanent installations, they typically are constructed of metal, with entry hatches/airlock doors, glass or acrylic observation windows or closed-circuit TV, plus two-way communications for patient monitoring. Consider- ably heavier, bulkier and costlier to build and operate than fexible units, most are owned/operated by naval or diving organizations, hospitals and dedicated recompression facilities. Flexible systems operate at much lower pressures (to 1.4 ATA) and don't provide the same efcacy or meet the same performance requirements as rigid chambers, but they are usually transportable because they are constructed of lightweight urethane- or vinyl-coated nylon- bonded fabric and can be collapsed. Patients enter through a full- length, double-zipper seal from the top of the chamber, which is pressurized with oxygen-enriched compressed air. Now, the HematoCare, a new hyperbaric chamber from Groupe Médical Gaumond (GMG, Montréal, QC, Canada), is set to close the gap between rigid and fexible single-person systems. Unique composite construction enables the chamber to deliver oxygen at the high pressures of rigid systems, but keep system cost, weight and collapsed size down for maximum medical utility, convenient stowage and portability, and rapid deployment. A decade in development Claude Gaumond, GMG's CEO, made a decidedly untraditional transition into the medical-device feld. An elite cross-country skier and triathlete, his initial interest in HBOT was to enhance his own competitive performance. However, while exploring avail- able units in 2001, he recognized that each had shortcomings, and he started wondering how to design a better system. During his university business studies, he took the opportunity to use his idea as a business case in his classes. As a graduate, he had a good idea and a solid business plan, but limited funds and little technical knowledge about how to engineer such a complex product. Here, an early and ongoing resource was the National Research Council Canada's (NRCC/CNRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program By Peggy Malnati / Contributing Writer

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