Monday, March 29, 2010

identify that medical equipment, question mark edition

Most of the time when I see a piece of medical equipment, I can appreciate if it looks weird, even if I know what it's used for. And then sometimes I see something, like this pile of stuff outside the cardiac ORs, which leaves me completely mystified. I have been trying to figure this one out for weeks.

Can someone please tell me how this is not an eggbeater?


  1. Anonymous7:18 PM

    First thing I thought when I saw that picture was "whisk".

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  2. Anonymous8:04 PM

    I'm glad my non-medical mind and the super smart medical minds think the same thing with egg beater!

  3. um. eggbeater is definitely what comes to mind. I'm not sure what that would be used for in surgery... mixing intraperitoneal chemo?

  4. a whisk... intriguing. i will be checking back here tomorrow; hopefully your readers will have solved this mystery by then.

  5. Anonymous9:00 PM

    It's a lung retractor. Commonly used in thoracic procedures.

  6. Anonymous9:58 PM

    It kind of looks like an Allison Lung Retractor, but aren't those are usually flat, with all the wires curving in one direction? The picture makes it seem that these are all bent outwards in a round shape, like an actual wisk. I'm not sure that lung retractor is the answer.

  7. CUMC G310:02 PM

    they probably ran out of retractors (i third the previous comments; found my result by googling something like "surgical whisk") and stopped by the local target to improvise.

  8. Annaolitan1:19 AM

    There is an Allison lung retractor in the first photo. The top of it is just below that black thing in the right tray. It looks like a flat wire whisk.

    Here's another photo of it:

    I am completely mystified by those things that look like French whisks, though. I haven't a clue!

  9. Anonymous2:45 AM

    whoa, i work in the cardiac OR but uh never seen a lung retractor like that,
    maybe they grabbed it from the kitchen on accident?? heh

  10. It's not a lung retractor--those are flat, like wire paddles. This thing is actually three-dimensional and teardrop shaped, exactly like a whisk.

    Maybe it's for making omelettes. Heart omelettes.

  11. Erika7:36 AM

    I thought omelettes were made with ova. Maybe it's gynecological. Look out speculum; you've got competition. Yikes!

  12. Anonymous9:25 AM

    maybe it's an april fool's joke?

  13. lol, and I was wondering why the whisks while the post title is "medical equipment".

  14. cdnpsycres10:22 AM

    why don't you ask?? Or peak over the sheet during the case periodically---I'm intrigued. I've never been in a cardiac case so the equipment is foreign to me.

  15. See, that's the thing, I've never seen them used during a case! But they're marked with cardiac OR labels (the little white sticker with the hearts on it around the handle) and they're lying in this pile outside the cardiac OR core, so what gives? I have grabbed several scrub techs and asked them if they know, but they have the same response as me. ("Egg beater, right?")

  16. Shushana11:51 AM

    It is a fairly new type of expandable retractor - has been on the market for only a few years, I think.

  17. Thank God I'm not a doctor. I would have picked the thing up and started making breakfast with it.

  18. Yeah, looks like an expandable retractor for minimally invansive procedures. See link:

  19. Maybe it's a giant stent for the aorta?

  20. Taking off from Jay's comment, I wonder if that serrated looking shaft lets the maybe-a-retractor adjust the size of the whisk part. Pulling the serrated shaft away from the wire loops it closes them and pushing toward, it opens up?

  21. I'm still going with whisk. Probably there's making breakfast during the procedure in case anyone gets hungry. I don't blame them. When I was having surgery at [Major University Hospital in ATL], I swear I was the first scheduled patient to go into the OR, after I had to be there by about 6:30 AM. I know the people who work in the OR had to be there earlier than that. And were probably hungry. Just like I was. Being operated on sucks.

    Also [Major University in ATL], please never let a PA student put my IV in. The day my nurse had to take it out, I swear she was horrified at his technique [okay, rant over. I don't like people sticking me with sharp objects, especially when they obviously have no experience, and, yes I know they have to learn, but why on me? Rant really over.].

  22. Oh, those are definitely whisks.

    Also, for the comment near the top, medical students are often utilized for the shaking and mixing of intraperitoneal chemo. You can spend up to 90 minutes rolling a patient back and forth. It's good for the biceps and delts.

  23. Ashley5:51 PM

    I've seen a few CABGs where they've used a whisk to agitate the ice in the ice bowl-thingy to break it up enough to ice down the heart.

  24. Anonymous12:03 AM

    I have a question (not about this post, although it does involve cardiac surgery). Fentanyl/sufentanil are used in surgery, esp cardiovascular, because of the minimal cardio-depressant effects, yes? But if given too quickly via i.v., you can get truncal rigidity. So how do you counteract that? Do you just administer it slowly (some formula?) or is there another med on board to protect against this?

    I'm not cheating on homework; I swear. I was studying for a quiz and stumbled across this and then wondered how it would actually be handled in the OR. My notes don't say, which means it's more than the professor needs us to know right now, but I'm just curious.


  25. Anonymous10:30 PM

    i only trust the professional michelle au to whisk me away!

  26. OH_ER_Res1:04 PM

    For making the OR staff a snack when they get hungry in the middle of a case is the only thing I can come up with...

  27. ...Scrambled heart sandwich? o_o

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  29. Well, it looks like the lung retractor is ruled out here. It can be a little awkward if those were used in the OR. But I think it’s probably used for minimal invasive procedures that are done to the heart. Anyway, the image can be quite confusing for most people.

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