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Multidisciplinary Development of a Low-cost Gastroschisis Silo for Use in Sub-Saharan Africa

© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Background: Gastroschisis silos are often unavailable in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), contributing to high mortality. We describe a collaboration between engineers and surgeons in the United States and Uganda to develop a silo from locally available materials. Methods: Design criteria included the following: < $5 cost, 5 ± 0.25 cm opening diameter, deformability of the opening construct, ≥ 500 mL volume, ≥ 30 N tensile strength, no statistical difference in the leakage rate between the low-cost silo and preformed silo, ease of manufacturing, and reusability. Pugh scoring matrices were used to assess designs. Materials considered included the following: urine collection bags, intravenous bags, or zipper storage bags for the silo and female condom rings or O-rings for the silo opening construct. Silos were assembled with clothing irons and sewn with thread. Colleagues in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya investigated material cost and availability. Results: Urine collection bags and female condom rings were chosen as the most accessible materials. Silos were estimated to cost < $1 in SSA. Silos yielded a diameter of 5.01 ± 0.11 cm and a volume of 675 ± 7 mL. The iron + sewn seal, sewn seal, and ironed seal on the silos yielded tensile strengths of 31.1 ± 5.3 N, 30.1 ± 2.9 N, and 14.7 ± 2.4 N, respectively, compared with the seal of the current standard-of-care silo of 41.8 ± 6.1 N. The low-cost silos had comparable leakage rates along the opening and along the seal with the spring-loaded preformed silo. The silos were easily constructed by biomedical engineering students within 15 min. All silos were able to be sterilized by submersion. Conclusions: A low-cost gastroschisis silo was constructed from materials locally available in SSA. Further in vivo and clinical studies are needed to determine if mortality can be improved with this design.

Citation: 

Arivoli, M., A. Biswas, N. Burroughs, P. Wilson, C. Salzman, N. Kakembo, J. Mugaga, R. T. Ssekitoleko, A. Saterbak, and T. N. Fitzgerald. “Multidisciplinary Development of a Low-cost Gastroschisis Silo for Use in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Journal of Surgical Research 255 (November 1, 2020): 565–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2020.05.037.

Published Date: 
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Published In: 
Journal of Surgical Research