In India, sudden cardiac arrests kill over seven lakh people every year—that is almost 2,000 people per day or about 80 every hour!
It is a daunting statistic, which makes India the capital of coronary diseases globally. The lack of life-saving equipment and the high cost of treatment is a key contributor to this data.
In an earnest attempt at bringing that number down, two students from IIT Gandhinagar—Kratika Bhagtani and Karthik Karvaje—have developed the prototype of a portable mechanical CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). Speaking to The Better India about this device, they explain how their invention could be what India’s healthcare system needs.
What does this device do?
The portable CPR is a compact and affordable mechanical device that performs chest compressions at a proper depth and optimal rate, ventilates lungs, maintains an open airway, and indicates the compression rate.
It is roughly the size of a laptop, weighing less than 1 kg. As it just requires rotating the handle, it is simple to use. This manual operation can be replaced by a small electric motor as well.
About the innovators
20-year-old Kratika is from Kota, Rajasthan, who was inspired by her father, a doctor. She says, “Honestly, the seeds of this device were sown during a conversation with my father. He had mentioned his concern for patients who died on their way to the hospital just because the ambulance took time to respond.”
Her friend, Karthik, is a 22-year-old Karthik from Puttur, Karnataka. He says, “Given the number of deaths in India related to cardiac arrests, proper CPR can most certainly save lives. But very few people in the country know this technique. The lack of this crucial knowledge reduces the chances of saving many lives. Making a device that is easy to use and operable with minimal training was a big motivation for us.”
How did this innovation come into being?
Kratika and Karthik developed this portable CPR device under the Invent@IITGN programme at IIT Gandhinagar. It is a unique six-week intensive summer course that originated in the USA in 2013 at The Cooper Union, New York. It was conducted for the first time in India during the summer of 2018 at IIT Gandhinagar by Professors Alan Wolf and Eric Lima—the founders of the original US programme. IIT Gandhinagar Professors Vineet Vashista and Nithin George had worked alongside them.
The 20 selected students from IITs across the country had participated. They were grouped into ten teams of two students each, who were given a budget of up to Rs 50,000 to conceive an invention, build, refine and test its prototype. They also had to write and file both Indian and US provisional patent applications in six weeks! The best inventions won grand prizes.
Why is this machine unique?
A regular CPR device in hospitals costs more than Rs 4,00,000, but this prototype was built in just Rs 6,000 with the help of 3D printers and cardboard-like material. If commercialised, it would not cost more than Rs 10,000.
Kratika and Karthik feel that this portable and cost-effective mechanical CPR can prove to be a boon for cardiac patients in public places.
For their device, the duo won Rs 1 lakh in the competition. They have filed for a provisional patent.
It is stories like these, which make us believe that we are marching towards a better future, and a better India.
To know more about the inventors or their device, write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)