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Researchers from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research collaborated with scientists and engineers at the University of Colorado and Flashback Technologies, Inc., to develop an algorithm, the Compensatory Reserve Index (CRI), to detect when a patient experiences hemorrhagic shock, a leading cause of death in trauma patients.

The monitoring technology received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2016 to be used in pre-hospital and hospital settings.

The CRI uses an algorithm to take information from a standard pulse oximeter, placed on the finger of a patient. The system then gauges whether a patient requires resuscitation or immediate medical attention.

Equipped with a device similar to a fuel gauge in a motor vehicle, the technology detects when a patient is in danger of going into hemorrhagic shock. The CRI will benefit medics who lack experience in the battlefield and need to care for wounded warriors requiring immediate medical attention.

"The ability to measure the compensatory reserve continuously and in real time will revolutionize medical monitoring from early diagnosis of the trajectory toward shock to accurately guiding fluid resuscitation or providing feedback of intervention effectiveness," said Dr. Victor Convertino, USAISR senior scientist for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Combat Casualty Care Research Program, which funded the research.

Convertino and his team employed the compensatory reserve algorithm to learn, from an individual's own arterial waveform, how the body uses its compensatory mechanisms. With analysis of each arterial waveform, the algorithm becomes more accurate in predicting the body's ability to protect itself from inadequate tissue oxygenation, or shock.

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