Skip to Content

CricSpike Emergency Cricothyrotomy Assist Device for Tactical Field Care

Team Members:
  • Antonio Spina
  • Himanshu Dashora
  • Michael Good
  • Jordan Kreger
  • Ronak Mehta
  • Sondra Rahmeh
  • Qiuyin Ren
  • Travis Wallace
  • Ryan Walter
  • James K. Gilman, MD
  • Kirby R. Gross MD
  • Adam Dodson, NCEE
  • Steven Tropello, MD
  • Vinciya Pandian, MSN
  • Truc Nguyen, NRP
  • Matthew Levy, DO
  • Keith Bernis


According to data from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), two of the most recent American military operations, 10-15% of preventable battlefield deaths were due to airway obstruction or respiratory failure.  The increased use of improvised explosives and improved body armor in modern military engagements has led to an increase in survivable blast injuries, which often distort the anatomy of the primary airway. Therefore, airway management has become increasingly important in modern military medicine.  To help reduce preventable deaths in the military due to failure to intubate, we have designed a handheld cricothyrotomy assist device to help combat medics (68Ws) perform the life-saving procedure on injured soldiers.  At the moment, cricothyrotomy procedures, generally performed in combat settings, suffer from slow, outdated techniques and technology.  Combat medics performing this procedure have a historical failure rate of 33%, while physicians and physician assistants have a failure rate of 15%.Often, combat medics do not have the experience or the confidence to perform the procedure quickly and effectively in the field, resulting in delays of treatment.  Given that this is an emergency technique to maintain a proper airway, any delays in treatment or mistakes can be critical or even fatal.  Through an innovative yet simple technique, the CricSpikeTM aims to eliminate the most common failure points of the procedure while increasing speed, user confidence, and therefore overall effectiveness at a low cost. A 68W performs a practice cricothyrotomy on a mannequin.

Read the Johns Hopkins University privacy statement here.