Can Montreal's Centech startup, Install-VASc, transform ultrasound-guided catheter insertion?

Progressing catheter insertion: A breakthrough in ultrasound guidance technology

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags catheter Drug delivery technologies Montreal Startups Ultrasound Technology

Continuing the Montreal startup ideas presented to OSP and others during a recent trip, this was another idea to come from Centech, the non-profit organization helping people develop their ideas in a bid to making them a reality.

Samuel Poulin, presented Install-VASc and shared his insights into another innovative project aimed at transforming ultrasound-guided catheter insertion, highlighting the potential for improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. He explained that in the evolving world of medical technology, the accurate insertion of catheters remains a significant challenge.

“Currently, caregivers insert catheters by hand, which often requires multiple attempts,” Poulin explains. "It takes about four tries to insert the catheter correctly, and each failure adds to hospital costs. Shockingly, 50% of catheters are misplaced and need to be replaced.”

The arterial access market is substantial, valued at approximately $10.5 billion. Install-VASc aims to make significant strides in this space, focusing initially on arterial access and later on the more complex venous access.

“Probes used for catheterization are primarily diagnostic tools, not designed for this specific purpose," Poulin points out. "Our goal is to facilitate catheter insertion by improving probe usability, making the process more efficient and accurate.”

Install-VASc’s solution involves a system designed to enhance the guidance of needles and catheters. Poulin outlines the four key components of their device: assisted rotation, a catamaran base to reduce arterial pressure, an arm to guide the needle, and the use of an aseptic notation technique for infection prevention.

“The assisted rotation allows caregivers to use their dominant hand for stability during movement, while the catamaran base helps minimize pressure on the artery," Poulin elaborates. "The arm guides the needle precisely, and our aseptic technique ensures a higher level of protection against infections.”

Training and usability are paramount to the success of this technology. “Everyone can use a probe, but it currently requires months of training,” says Poulin. “We aim to reduce training time significantly. Our VR technique offers a 15–20-minute training session, conducted two to three times a week, proving that VR training can expedite learning.”

The product's development is in collaboration with various hospitals and private care centers, receiving positive feedback from professionals. Poulin anticipates having a fully operational product by September 2024, with plans to bring it to market within two to three years.

“Our product includes both a reusable main device, priced at $1,500, and disposable components at $15 each," Poulin details. "This dual approach ensures affordability and accessibility for healthcare providers.”

Addressing the high failure rate of current catheter insertions, Poulin acknowledges the competition but highlights the unique aspects of their solution. "We work with probe and catheter manufacturers to integrate our product seamlessly," he says. "While other solutions focus on fixing the catheter once inserted, our technology enhances the entire insertion process."

In closing, Poulin emphasizes the broader implications of their innovation. “Our system is designed not just for catheterization but also for broader applications like obstetrics and vascular diagnostics," he notes. "By improving the accuracy and efficiency of catheter insertions, we aim to reduce complications and improve patient care.”

The Install-VASc project is poised to revolutionize catheter insertion, offering a promising solution to a long-standing medical challenge. With continued development and collaboration, this technology has the potential to set new standards in medical practice so watch this space.

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