In the developing world, military, disaster relief and domestic environments, many medical techniques are not readily available due to electricity, cost and other economical constraints. For these reasons, negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), a successful, acute and chronic wound treatment, has not been introduced, although many patients would benefit. Aiming to expand this therapy, the viability of inexpensive, purely mechanical simplified negative pressure wound therapy (sNPWT) systems was explored. Air leaks into the NPWT system were identified as the limiting factor for the possibility of sNPWT, and an air leak detection system, along with proper dressing techniques, were defined.
Once sNPWT was proven to be viable, it was developed further, based on the customer needs in the targeted markets and the sNPWT functional parameters. Three vacuum pump embodiments were prototyped and analyzed for possible implementation: bellows pumps, bladder pumps, and rolling diaphragm pumps. The bellows pump was chosen for the final design, and was analyzed in preparation for manufacture. The final system design, using the bellows pump and a proprietary dressing, was applied in the field during the Earthquake Relief Effort in Haiti and during a phase I study in Rwanda.