New flexible device can be custom-printed to fit a child’s respiratory tract and minimize intubation trauma from surgical procedures.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a combined pediatric laryngoscope and intubation medical device that facilitates tracheal intubation while reducing patient trauma. The low-cost, 3D-printed innovation is more flexible and easier to control than existing laryngoscopes and enables customization to accommodate a patient’s unique physiology.
Laryngoscopes today are typically bulky, rigid and inflexible. Their shapes and sizes are also limited. Thus, they can cause bruising or tearing of the soft tissues in the oral cavity or esophagus of patients, such as small children. Moreover, a child’s tracheal anatomy can make intubation difficult to perform, especially during emergencies. As a solution, the UCF invention offers a way to intubate a patient quickly, accurately and gently without trauma or damage to the tissue. With its small footprint, the flexible device conforms to a patient’s anatomy and enables a physician to use only one hand to perform a laryngoscopy and intubate a patient. The physician’s other hand is free to perform supplementary diagnostics.
The UCF invention is a fingertip laryngoscope and intubation device that is 3D-printed using composite materials. Designed for pediatric medical use, the device includes a holder portion, an insertion portion and a holder aperture. It also can include an illuminator to light an area immediately surrounding the insertion portion and a display screen on an outer surface of the holder portion. The device can be customized based on the patient’s anatomy via additive manufacturing. Also, by using materials with tunable physical properties, a manufacturer can vary the device structure, so that sections can be stiffer, while other sections can be more pliant. For example, the device can include a stiff portion for inserting into a patient's respiratory tract and a more flexible portion that allows a user/doctor to position the device using a thumb or finger.
Stage of Development
- Low cost
- Flexible composite (3D polyjet-printed) device works with patient physiology and promotes better access for other tools
- Can easily add illumination and LCD readouts for doctors
Pediatric surgery and diagnostic procedures