ATLANTA, Nov. 12 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they have developed the world’s first gorilla blood pressure reading device.
The “Gorilla Tough Cuff” was created as a Georgia Tech-Emory University design project by biomedical engineering undergraduates David Sotto, Nisha Bhatia, Stephanie Drewicz and Scott Seaman. The prototype has been successfully tested on one of Zoo Atlanta’s 22 western lowland gorillas.
The researchers said the cuff operates in the same manner as the mechanism familiar to humans, with the patient slipping an arm into a cuff. As the cuff inflates and deflates, the blood pressure reading is displayed on a monitor.
Sotto said the prototype was comprised of a blood pressure cuff bolted to a casing made of plastic. The casing was zip-tied to a rectangular mesh trap and the trap was temporarily attached to a zoo gorilla cage. The pressure cuff tubing was connected to an off-the-shelf veterinary blood pressure monitor located outside of the gorilla cage.
“We also built a safety mechanism into the device so that the gorillas would not be injured if they became alarmed or frightened and tried to remove their arm from the cuff,” said Sotto, currently a graduate student at Georgia Tech.
The Tough Cuff’s initial testee was Ozzie, a 48-year-old male western lowland gorilla. Ozzie’s accomplishment of inserting his arm into an inflatable cuff was the result of months of patience and positive reinforcement training on the part of Zoo Atlanta’s Primate Team, Sotto said.
“This is a great step forward in the medical management and care of captive gorillas,” said Dr. Sam Rivera, associate veterinarian at Zoo Atlanta.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International