Med Device Monday: Easier Umbilical Venous Catheterization

A month or so ago, we talked about the first MRI device created specifically for neonates. This week, we're talking about a special catheterization device to make certain IV procedures on neonates safer and easier. As a reminder, August on this here blog is dedicated to discussing up and coming medical devices that have not yet gained FDA approval. 

The umbilical vein is unobstructed and available in newborns for about the first week of their life. It is generally the easiest way to start a catheter/IV in a very young baby, especially in an emergency, and many lifesaving neonatal procedures rely on this vein for access. Per Navitechnologies, "Roughly 30% of patients admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) require a potentially life-saving procedure called an Umbilical Venous Catheterisation (UVC). UVC procedures provide a vital pathway to deliver nutrients and drugs to critically-ill babies."

Unfortunately, the vein can be difficult to locate, and mistakes can be harmful - or even fatal. 

In fact, Navitechnologies says, "Current techniques are inadequate where 40% of attempts result in misplaced catheters due to lack of real-time feedback."

If you guessed that Navitechnologies is talking about this because they have a medical device for it, you would be correct!

Photo from 

Photo from 

Navitechnologies' device, NeoNAV, is designed to make placement of a UVC accurate and safe the first time. Using technology, it provides realtime feedback as to the placement of the end of the catheter, guiding the clinician and ensuring the catheter is following the vein. It's not a new catheter system, but rather an add-on for existing ones. 

Since this is a fairly new device that has not yet been approved, there are no videos or pictures of the interface, but I love the idea of technology improving an existing medical device to make it easier, safer, and more effective. Their website says that a "traffic-light system" guides the clinician thanks to their proprietary algorithm. Proprietary algorithms for the win!

Screen cap from 

Screen cap from 

Neonatal care has certainly come a long way. It wasn't terribly long ago that premature babies and certain, now-survivable medical conditions meant death for a newborn (and often, its mother). While we have of course made awesome progress, it is so exciting to me to see these new devices that are specifically designed for the specialized care of newborns. I can't wait to see what comes out next!


Further reading:

FDA's page for pediatric devices

Incubator product classification (throwing it old school, because it's still essential!)

First neonatal MRI device