New device simplifies catheter insertion

Students and clinicians in Israel have developed a semi-automatic handheld device for the rapid and safe intravenous (IV) insertion of catheters.

Administering fluids to patients through IV catheters is a common medical procedure that requires the insertion of a needle into a vein.

However, the motor coordination required to insert an IV catheter is very demanding, particularly in children and infants and can often cause pain, distress and frustration. 

To address this need, Hebrew University of Jerusalem students and Hadassah Medical Center clinicians created the device via the joint Biodesign program, a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation created by HUJ and HDC in partnership with Stanford University.

Called SAGIV, the device uses infrared sights and electrical sensing to identify veins, insert the needle into the correct location, and withdraw it in a single, rapid robotic movement.   

‘Some caregivers simply don’t have the dexterity to insert IV catheters successfully,’ said Dr Yotam Almagor, the group’s clinical expert. ‘This leads to a lot of pain and frustration.’

The group’s prototype, developed by engineering graduate student Lev Lavy, has already been tested successfully on children at the paediatric ward of Hadassah Medical Center.

‘We had a lot of excited parents asking that we use the device,’ Almagor said in a statement. ‘Children that used to be pricked numerous times in every visit can now be connected in a single attempt.’