Client | Texas Children's Hospital
Location | Costa Rica
One of the most important factors promoting neonates’ growth and development is to maximize the percentage of fat content delivery from breast milk. Neonates need to quickly and efficiently put on a healthy amount of weight, and failure to receive adequate nutrition could result in serious complications or death. Seventy-five percent of these deaths could be prevented with access to existing technology and that’s exactly what MilkyWaves plans to do. MilkyWaves is a device to improve fat delivery via enteral feeding to increase the rate of weight gain in premature infants.
In many low resource settings, a large percentage of fat and caloric intake is wasted because it remains attached to the syringe and tubing instead of reaching the neonate. Current scientific data shows that, once outside the body, fat in breast milk is separated. Most developed countries, such as the United States, have chemicals and machinery to prevent this, however low resources settings cannot afford this current solution. Students before us identified three variables which affect the separation of breast milk once in the syringe pump: temperature, vibration and position of the syringe. MilkyWaves combines these three factors into one device to prevent milk separation and maximize fat delivery content. The device is essentially a heating and vibration pad which surrounds the majority of a syringe’s external surface. This pad is controlled by a PCB board and heat sensors measuring the liquid’s temperature. The electronic component allows for the heat pad to be adjustable in order for the liquid to be heated to ~40 degrees Celsius (the optimal breast milk temperature). Finally, this cover is compatible with infusion pumps used in Costa Rican hospitals, such as the Hospital Nacional de Niños in San José.