Disposable catheter prevents infection

Researchers developed a low cost catheter that can measure swallowing pressure using intelligent manufacturing processes that eliminate the infection risks posed by existing catheters.


A research team from the University of South Australia has developed a low cost disposable solid-state catheter that can measure swallowing pressure using intelligent manufacturing processes that eliminate the infection risks posed by existing catheters.



The catheter is one of the new products being developed in the emerging field of bio micro-electro-mechanical systems, or BioMEMS, which have applications in the biomedical field.



Existing catheters can feel uncomfortable, causing patients to move and increase the risk of fluid in the airways. They also need to be recalibrated before each use, and changes in pressure are not always accurately measured or picked up quickly enough, which could lead to a misdiagnosis. Because current catheters are expensive, they are often reused to cut medical costs. This carries a risk of transmitting disease between patients.



The new catheter uses solid-state sensors to measure the pressure of swallowing and eliminate the risk of fluid getting into the airway. The sensors are very responsive to pressure changes and give accurate, high-resolution real-time readings of pressure and other measurements. The new catheter will be about ten times cheaper than current models, and is designed for a single use only, eliminating the risks associated with reuse.



The design concept of the new catheter is being verified through both laboratory testing and in-vivo tests on humans.