A unique patented technology developed by a emergency-room doctor is about to change the way many medical procedures involving needles are preformed and increase the success rate of first needle insertion from about 37% up to 99% according to live tests conducted recently.
Soma Access Systems LLC – the company behind "AxoTrack" a virtual needle system is the brainchild of Dr. Stephen F. Ridley, an emergency-room doctor who realized that there must be a more accurate way to insert a needle using ultrasound assistance. His invention recently received FDA clearance for a new transducer featuring AxoTrack needle visualization technology.
According to Soma "AxoTrack allows practitioners to see the virtual needle and the entire operative field throughout a procedure. Before starting the procedure, the anatomic target is visualized and aligned with a target line, establishing a clear, safe needle path to the intended target. In real time, the practitioner is able to observe the progress of the needle as it moves along an unobstructed trajectory to the target. This ability allows to 1) plan the course, 2) plot the trajectory, and 3) clearly see the needle position gives practitioners unprecedented clarity and control".
AxoTrack is intended to help improve the success rate of different types of ultrasound-guided procedures such as central line placements for example. According to Soma the use of AxoTrack should result in potentially fewer procedural complications such as transfixation or “backwalling” the vessel, arterial puncture and laceration, hematomas, pneumothoraces, and nerve injury. These improvements along with decreased procedure times and reduced training times of the medical stuff should result in improved patient care and significant cost savings to the healthcare system in general.
Soma explain that the AxoTrack ultrasound probe has an integral needle guide and built-in needle position sensors. Together they allow the system to project on the sonogram a virtual image of the needle as it moves through the patients tissue into the imaged target vessel. The medical professional visualize the anatomy of the patient and locates the optimal window for vascular access. The next step is toalign the on-screen target line with the targeted vessel displayed on the screen. The final step is to insert the needle into the needle guide in the ultrasound probe and push the needle while observing its progress until the vessel is entered correctly.
TFOT covered many technologies related to injections including Bloodbot blood sampling robot which was developed as a collaboration between the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College in London, and its Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory in 2009 and the vaccine-delivery patch developed by researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010.
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.