The App That Helps Track Blood Loss During Birth

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading culprit in America’s rising rates of maternal injury and mortality. Triton—Gauss Surgical Inc.’s infrared sensor and iPad app—keeps a running tally of blood lost during delivery to alert doctors of danger.

Innovator

Siddarth Satish
Age: 30
Chief executive officer and founder of Gauss Surgical, a 25-employee startup in Los Altos, Calif.

Origin

Satish, who’d seen family members suffer from untreated postpartum hemorrhaging, got the idea for Triton while shadowing surgeons in the OR during a Stanford fellowship in 2011.

Funding

Gauss Surgical has raised $40 million in venture capital.

Production

Triton, which received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in 2017, was the only American technology to win a design award at Apple Inc.’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Hospitals can rent the system for $2,000 a month per OR, which Satish says typically works out to $30 to $80 per procedure.

How It Works

① A nurse holds up individual pieces of blood-soaked surgical gauze to the sensor for the app to scan. Triton’s software calculates the amount of blood saturating the gauze.

② The iPad app displays how much blood the patient has lost; speakers announce the loss at predefined intervals, alerting operating room staff when the amount becomes dangerous.

Next Steps

David Lagrew, executive medical director for women’s services at Providence St. Joseph Health, says 9 in 10 obstetrical deaths caused by hemorrhaging are preventable. He says Triton gives the clearest picture of blood loss he’s seen, allowing nurses and doctors to catch excessive bleeding before it’s too late. Other uses, Satish says, include counting pieces of gauze and sponges to make sure they aren’t left inside patients. Tracking a wider range of OR consumables could be next, as could predictive analytics based on anonymized patient data.

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