The semi-automatic handheld device�can identify veins, insert a needle and withdraw it in a single movement (Credit: Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Robotic IV insertion device reduces pain for kids

A prototype robotic device for inserting intravenous catheters could help reduce pain for hospitalised children.

While inserting an IV catheter using a needle to administer fluids to patients is a common medical procedure, the motor coordination required of doctors is very demanding, particularly in children and infants, and can often cause pain, distress and frustration.

Developed by students and clinicians in the Biodesign program of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center, the semi-automatic handheld device, called SAGIV, can identify veins, insert a needle and withdraw it in a single 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 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.

The 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,” said Almagor. “Children that used to be pricked numerous times in every visit can now be connected in a single attempt.”

The Biodesign program is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation, created by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center in partnership with Stanford University.

The program takes outstanding medical fellows, bioengineering and business graduate students, and teaches them about the science and practice of bringing a medical innovation to the market.

A video about the SAGIV prototype is available on the E&T Magazine Facebook page.

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