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    New Compact Anesthesia System Eases Military Operations

    By Amanda Sounart, associate editor.   

    Compact, portable and built for the most extreme conditions, the newest anesthesia system by Draeger Medical, Inc., was designed to meet the demands of surgery behind the front lines. Created exclusively for military use, the Fabius Tiro M sets up in less than 15 minutes and can provide hospital-caliber anesthesia anywhere in the world.

    “This is a machine that we developed specifically for the armed forces,” said Rob Clark, area director of perioperative care for Draeger Medical. “The first generation that we contracted for the Army, Navy and Air Force for a field-deployable anesthesia machine was successful, but had room for improvement. We had a lot of feedback on that machine from the anesthesiologists who used it in the field and we wanted to make sure that these suggestions were implemented into the new model.”

    Both military versions of the machine evolved from Draeger Medical’s commercial system that is currently used in public hospitals. The Fabius Tiro M uses the same operational procedures as the commercial model, allowing virtually any anesthesiologist or CRNA to operate the military version. With a recognizable system, even reservists or non-military anesthesia professionals could utilize the machine should the need arise.

    There are currently 800 of the previous military version of the Fabius Tiro in the field with 95 percent of them on deployment. This first generation was exclusively available for U.S. military use while the newer version is available worldwide. A benefit of this global availability is the ability of foreign anesthesiologists to be familiar with its operation, allowing versatility in the field.

    In addition to the universal nature of the system, the new machine has improved portability. Built more durably than the commercial version, the Fabius Tiro M can withstand extreme shocks and vibrations. The machine packs into one crate that meets military shipping standards and can be carted over rugged terrain or dropped by parachute out of a helicopter when correctly packed.  While still built for transport, the previous generation required two crates, which often led to separation.

    “Whenever you’ve got an opportunity for a problem, it is sure to present itself,” said Clark. “You might only end up with one case or two cases thinking you had the whole unit and they both had the same half of the machine. Logistically, the problems were staggering. Having one crate completely eliminated this issue.”

    Another new feature that enhances the machine’s portability is its ability to run on electricity instead of compressed gas. Using a piston-driven ventilator, the system can be set up at any site where there is a generator, eliminating the need to transport tanks of gas, which are often flammable.

    “It’s hard to get compressed gas to the front line,” said Clark. “There is a challenge because of the combustibility. You also need a lot of the gas to get it running, meaning more tanks and more to transport. Electricity is safer and easier for the anesthesiologists.”

    Other suggestions for improvement included advanced settings to mimic the quality of care of a hospital. With this in mind, Draeger Medical added new features such as multiple ventilation modes so service men and women around the world can receive the highest quality care, wherever they are deployed.

    In addition to its use by the U.S. military, the Fabius Tiro M may soon be used by the Department of Homeland Security.  It could be deployed in the event of a disaster where hospitals would be too full to take in disaster victims or where medical facilities were unavailable. The machines’ durability and portability would make them ideal for use in conditions where emergency surgery is needed and resources are limited.

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