Trial to test new catheter design
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Cancer Care Services is testing a new catheter design in a pilot study involving 60 patients being treated for cancer.
More than 25 million intravenous catheters are used in Australian health care each year, with 1.8 billion used globally. Despite its ubiquity, failure rates of the device are unacceptably high at 40 to 50%.
“The current design is a hollow tube with single entry and exit points that is inserted into the vein to provide essential fluids, medications and blood products,” Dr Gavin said.
“We know that flushing through the standard catheter changes the turbulence within the vein, which can cause vein collapse or blood clots with the potential to lead to stroke and other critical conditions.
“A new catheter has been designed to minimise the harmful pressure created at the end of the device when fluids are given, and we will test its ability to minimise negative side effects.”
The study will be conducted in the medical imaging setting where patients undergo routine CT scanning. The feasibility of the new device will be tested across several categories including patient and clinician satisfaction.
“Throughout diagnosis and treatment, these patients will require many scans and often more than one CT scan, so this provides the ideal scenario for the device to be tested,” Dr Gavin said.
“During a scan, patients are injected with CT contrast through a catheter, which is most often placed in the arm. The high-pressure flow of the contrast generally increases the risk of damage to veins and surrounding tissues.”
While the results may be positive for a broad range of patients, the study will focus on patients with cancer because the outcomes are extremely important for this cohort.
“Cancer patients are high-end users of catheters and other vascular devices to receive treatments intravenously, and preservation of vessel integrity and reduction of infection risk are some of the highest priorities for this vulnerable patient group,” Dr Gavin explained.
“We cannot treat cancer without vascular devices and I’m motivated to ensure that we continue this research to find the best possible alternatives to better patient care and safety.”
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