The UK-based inventors of CAERvest, a revolutionary new device for the treatment of heatstroke, are undertaking a clinical trial to be held at this year’s Hajj in September. The trial is being led by a team of doctors from the prestigious King Abdullah Medical City (KAMC) and will assess the effectiveness of treating heatstroke earlier than has ever before been possible. It is expected that hundreds of lives will be saved during the study.
Every year millions of pilgrims attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah), Saudi Arabia which is scheduled to be performed over five days. Attendees travel from all over the world to undertake the ritual acts that all Muslims must perform (if able) at least once during their lifetime.
This annual event is a phenomenal undertaking for the Saudi Arabian government hosts. Many challenges have to be overcome when preparing for a mass gathering of millions of people in a confined area and over such a short space of time. Over the years there have been a variety of incidents that have led to fatalities and the Saudi authorities have taken many positive steps, often at great expense, to avoid further such issues.
One serious, progressive and very often fatal danger facing pilgrims is heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency in which people who are exposed to extreme temperatures (such as the daily average of over 45degree CelsiusC faced at Mecca) succumb to rapid body overheating which, at best, requires urgent medical treatment and, at worst (in up to 50percent of cases), can prove fatal.
The date for Hajj moves every year to follow the lunar Islamic calendar. This means that for the next decade or so Hajj will be moving from the relatively cooler autumn months into the much hotter summer period, increasing the likelihood of pilgrims suffering from the condition. For some time the Saudi authorities have been searching for a simple, effective and portable treatment that can be applied immediately.
CAERvest is a single use device which can be easily carried and is activated and applied in under a minute and gets to work at once. It has been shown to reduce human core body temperature from 42degree CelsiusC (which can be rapidly fatal) to safe levels in minutes and, if needed, continues cooling the patient down to normal on the way to hospital. The earlier that treatment can be started, the more favourable the outcome will be for the patient.