Automated Catheter Insertion System


Market: Robotic assisted surgeries are on the rise, up from generally 20,000 robotic assisted procedures in the United States in 2005, to 80,000 robotic assisted prostatectomy procedures alone in 2009. Such robotic assisted surgeries allow for greater precision, smaller incisions and therefore less patient blood loss and quicker patient recovery, but require a highly skilled robotic operator for efficient implementation. Prices of existing surgical systems range from $700,000 to $2.25 million per system, and their presence in hospitals has increased by more than 400% since 2004.

Competitors and Current Problems: In austere battlefield environments, acute hemorrhage accounts for 50% of soldier fatalities and is the primary cause of death in 30% of injured soldiers who die from wounds. Currently, the most traditionally-used routes for fluid delivery involve either intravenous cannulation with flexible catheters or intra-osseous access with rigid intra-osseous needles, but even though such procedures have proven effective and reliable in controlled hospital and pre-hospital environments, their implementation into remote areas and/or the battlefield is greatly impaired due to the lack of available trained surgeons, the tactical combat conditions, and the remote and hostile nature of the battlefield environment itself, which make obtaining vascular access difficult, even for the best-trained surgeons. These complicated conditions call for the need for an automated mechanism that is able to obtain vascular access in a fast, efficient, and reliable manner by harnessing the enhanced precision and repeatability robotic systems have over human surgeons.

The Technology: Researchers at UTHealth have developed a device for automatically inserting a catheter or other medical implement into a patient. The automated mechanism was designed to obtain vascular access for administration of drugs and fluids in remote locations/to soldiers injured in combat via the insertion of a catheter inside the femoral vein. Specifically, an imaging module identifies a selected point of insertion on the patient and a manipulator module positions a catheter or medical implement at the desired position followed by insertion of the medical instrument into the patient. The system may be implemented with much less training than current surgical robotic systems. Prototypes have been fabricated and are currently being tested.

UTHealth Ref. No.: 2009-0043
Inventors: Charles Cox, Brijesh Gill, Raul Longoria, et. al.
Patent Status: US Utility Application 13/392,185
License Available: world-wide; exclusive or non-exclusive

Patent Information:

The preceding is intended to be a non-confidential and limited description of a novel technology created at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). This promotional material is not comprehensive in scope and should not replace company’s diligence in a thorough evaluation of the technology. Please contact the Office of Technology Management for more information regarding this technology.
Medical Devices
For Information, Contact:
Christine Flynn
Associate Director, Licensing and New Venture Development
University of Texas Health Science Center At Houston
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