Determining safe vibration limits for the medical evacuation of spinal cord injured people

Determining safe vibration limits for the medical evacuation of spinal cord injured people

The safe medical evacuation of spinal cord injured people is challenging and requires immobilization of the neck and cervical spine. The rates of disability associated with spinal cord injuries are high and the potential for vibration associated with medical evacuation by helicopter or ambulance to exacerbate the spinal cord injury is unknown but of great concern to both civilian and military first responders.

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Cripton, Associate Professor at the UBC Mechanical Engineering Department and principal investigator at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM) and his clinical collaborator, clinician-scientist Dr. Brian Kwon from the UBC Department of Orthopaedics and ICORD. Drs. Cripton and Kwon, were recently awarded the "Applied Research and Advanced Technology Development Award” and received a $2.3 million dollar grant funded by the United States Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).  The research project will investigate the impact of safe medical evacuation-related vibration on spinal cord injuries of both the military and civilians.

Dr. Cripton collaborates with spine surgeons, neuroscientists, and specialists in vibrations at the University of Iowa, and the United States Army Aero Medical Research laboratory. The objective of this three-year research project is to develop the best safe medical evacuation procedure for people with spinal injuries in emergency situations. Careful study and implementation of these concepts will provide the emergency physicians and first responders with the necessary knowledge to safely and expertly transport spine-injured patients.

CHHM researchers have pioneered novel techniques to advance our knowledge and understanding of why and how bones break and to develop, design and test novel implants to replace fractured or diseased bones and joints.  Dr. Cripton's research interests include injury prevention, spine and hip biomechanics, spinal cord injury and spinal implant biomechanics. In addition to developing a helmet to prevent spinal cord injuries during head first impacts in sports called the Pro-Neck-Tor™ helmet, Dr. Cripton and key CHHM collaborators including Dr. Pierre Guy and Dr. Rizhi Wang perform research focused on preventing hip fractures.

Learn more: Dr. Cripton's research is also featured on the UBC Faculty of Applied Science website.