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Gamechanger for warfighters

New medical device may change the face of battlefield treatment

Austin Langdon, assistant product manager in USAMMDA’s Warfighter Deployed Medical Systems Project Management Office, displays the Lactated Ringer’s Solution Generator and demonstrates its capabilities. Photo by Jeffrey Soares, USAMMDA public affairs.

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The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity has teamed with one of its commercial partners in the development of a novel medical device that may prove to be a "game-changer" in the frontline treatment of wounded warfighters. Created by TDA Research, Inc., and funded through the Defense Health Agency's Small Business Innovation Research program, the Lactated Ringer's Solution Generator is a lightweight, portable unit that can produce sterile LR solution in austere locations from locally available freshwater sources. The device utilizes proprietary technology to produce one liter-size intravenous bags from a concentrated LR salt solution.

Composed of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and lactate, LR solution is used primarily to treat dehydration, deliver medication and restore fluid balance following bodily injury. It is also used to treat moderate hemorrhagic shock, as it has been shown to increase initial survival rates among patients and decrease the chances of organ damage.

Austin Langdon serves as assistant product manager for the LR Solution Generator program within USAMMDA's Warfighter Deployed Medical Systems Project Management Office. He believes the device will help to save lives on the battlefield, and recently he demonstrated the unit for Army Brig. Gen. Michael J. Talley, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick.

"Without question, this small device will dramatically reduce the Army's logistical footprint of having to ship and store lactated Ringer's solution, which is the fluid of choice for resuscitation if blood is not available on the battlefield," said Langdon. "This unit can make LR solution from practically any water source, including ditch water."

"I truly believe in this device and its application for military use in the near future, although it will probably find its way into civilian medicine as well," he continued. "For the Army, the LR Solution Generator will increase our life-saving capabilities by helping to reduce our logistical supply chain demands - our ability to make LR solution in the field will also help ensure we're able to use these critical bags before they expire."

As a former Army flight medic, Langdon praised the unique qualities of the device, highlighting its size, weight and portability. The unit weighs less than 11 pounds and is stored in a hard-shell case that is approximately 10 inches wide by 18 inches long, and only six inches deep. The purification device runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion cell that can produce more than 30 bags of LR solution per single charge.

"Army leadership is continually seeking ways to reduce the logistical strain of getting much-needed resources to the frontline and far forward in Multi-Domain Operations," said Langdon. "Products such as the LR Solution Generator are far-forward-leaning solutions that can help us think outside of our normal parameters of operation. This device, and others like it, will bring forth new innovation that will change our standard of operation and secure our valuable resources."

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