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Afraid of needles? You’re not alone. According to to HealthLine, approximately one in five people suffer from a real fear of needles. And while these people may be able to live an entire life without getting a tattoo or a body piercing, getting pricked for medical purposes is hardly avoidable. But a recent development at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center might make life easier for children who encounter a needle.
Administering fluids to patients is generally done through intravenous (IV) catheters, inserting a needle in a vein. However, insert an IV catheter is not always successful on the first try, particularly in children and infants who have smaller veins. This often causes pain, distress and frustration.
To address this need, Hebrew University students and Hadassah Medical Center clinicians, attending the joint Biodesign program, created a semi-automatic handheld device for rapid and safe IV insertion. Called SAGIV, the device uses infrared sights and electrical sensors to identify veins, insert the needle into the correct location, and withdraw it in a single, rapid robotic movement.
Getting it right on the first try
“Inserting an IV is a demanding procedure, and many times children need to be pricked five, six or more than 10 times for successful insertion, ” said Doctor 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 pediatric ward of Hadassah Medical Center. “We had a lot of excited parents asking that we use the device, ” said Almagor. “Children who used to be pricked numerous times in every visit can now be connected in a single attempt.”
Other students in the group include Gahl Levy, founder of EnergySmart Solutions, as well as Yifat Castel and Alex Wainshtok, who are completing their MBA degrees.
Biodesign is a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to medical innovation, created by the Hebrew University and Hadassah in partnership with Stanford University. The program takes outstanding medical fellows, Bioengineering and business graduate students, and tutors them in the science and practice of bringing a medical innovation to the market.