New self-retracting needle can cut rate of failed intravenous
5 September 2011
A new form of needle with an automatic mechanism to reduce the
rate of failed intravenous injections has been co-developed at
Nottingham Trent University and Oberon Medical Innovations.
The University's School of Architecture, Design and the Built
Environment has been working with Olberon Medical Innovations to
create a self-retracting needle, which addresses the common problem
of passing completely through a vein.
It is estimated that there are up to 25 million intravenous
injections, or cannulations, in the UK each year, with up to a third
expected to fail first time. A major problem with current needles is
that operators find it difficult to detect when they have
successfully located and punctured the vein, causing the needle to
pass through the other side and fail in its positioning.
The new needle has an automatic mechanism which, based on changes
in pressure, causes it to withdraw the moment it detects the move
from tissue to vein. The product — Advanced Intravenous Cannula for
Improved Insertion Success Rate — is patent protected and the
researchers are working with medical suppliers to develop a
partnership for its mass manufacture.
A design-drawing of the new self-retracting
Researchers say the needle, which builds on existing designs but
with a number of additional components, can be made at a comparable
price, while providing better value for money, saving time and
reducing the suffering of patients. The research came about due to a
long term collaboration between the University and Olberon Medical
Innovations — based at the University of Nottingham — which aimed to
identify common medical problems that could be solved through
It has been funded via an Innovation Fellowship grant given by
the East Midlands Development Agency and the European Regional
Development Fund. Researcher Dr Amin Al-Habaibeh, an expert in
advanced design and manufacturing technologies in Nottingham Trent
University's School of Architecture, Design and the Built
Environment, said: "This is a simple but innovative concept which we
feel provides an ideal solution to the common problem of failed
intravenous injections. When the needle hits the vein the pressure
moves a diaphragm which activates its withdrawal by the force of a
"The new needle is used in exactly the same way as existing
products, but, essentially, it works automatically. This means we no
longer need to rely on the operator alone and their understanding of
when a vein has been punctured."
Dr Arash Bakhtyari, the managing director of Olberon Medical
Innovations, said: "This advanced intravenous cannula represents a
significant improvement on existing products by making the detection
of vessel entry and withdrawal of the inner needle automatic.
Intravenous injection is the world’s most common invasive medical
procedure, and 80% of patients admitted to UK hospitals will receive
"This invention highlights the importance of the industry working
with academia, which in this case has provided a unique and novel
medical invention which is expected to help patients and the doctors
across the globe."