Technical Brief

A Human Thermoregulation Simulator for Calibrating Water-Perfused Cooling Pads for Therapeutic Hypothermia

[+] Author and Article Information
Priya Chacko

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 107 W Dean Keeton Street, Stop C0800 Austin, Texas 78712

Ali Seifi

Department of Neurosurgery University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio MC7843 7703 Floyd Curl Dr. San Antonio, TX 78229

Kenneth R. Diller

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin 107 W Dean Keeton Street, Stop C0800 Austin, TX 78712

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037054 History: Received December 22, 2016; Revised May 23, 2017


The induction of a mild reduction in body core temperature has been demonstrated to provide neuroprotection for patients who have suffered a medical event resulting in ischemia to the brain or vital organs. Temperatures in the range of 32 - 34°C provide the required level of protection. Rewarming from hypothermia must be conducted slowly to avoid serious adverse consequences and usually is performed under control of the thermal therapeutic device based on a closed loop feedback strategy based on the patient’s core temperature. Given the sensitivity and criticality of this process, it is important that the device control system be able to interact with the human thermoregulation system, which itself is highly nonlinear. The therapeutic hypothermia device must be calibrated periodically to ensure that its performance is accurate and safe for the patient. In general calibration processes are conducted with the hypothermia device operating on a passive thermal mass that behaves much differently than a living human. This project has developed and demonstrated an active human thermoregulation simulator that embodies major governing thermal functions such as central metabolism, tissue conduction, and convective transport between the core and the skin surface via the flow of blood and that replicates primary dimensions of the torso. When operated at physiological values for metabolism and cardiac output, the temperature gradients created across the body layers and the heat exchange with both an air environment and a clinical water-circulating cooling pad system match that which occur in a living body.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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