Locating the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord requires extensive physician training and relies heavily on feel. Drugs (“epidurals”) injected into this very narrow space (only 4 millimeters wide) are used for anesthesia and analgesic purposes both during and after surgery.
Many anesthesiologists use the Loss of Resistance (LoR) technique to confirm correct needle placement. Inaccurate needle placement occurs in up to 30% of cases, resulting in ineffective drug delivery, multiple insertions, and post-complications such as severe headaches or nerve damage.
To optimize epidural anesthesia and analgesia, the market seeks an objective method for detecting correct needle placement within the epidural space.
Omeq Medical is developing a single-use, smart epidural needle for safe, accurate epidural injections. Attached to a standard epidural needle, a special blunted probe repeatedly monitors the dynamic forces exerted by the surrounding tissues and accurately detects needle penetration into the epidural space. Once successful positioning is confirmed with a visual signal, the safety mechanism of the device protects the patient from inadvertent puncture of the spine.
In the United States, over 20 million epidural injections are administered annually, with an additional 19 million injections in the rest of the world. Industry leaders B. Braun, Becton Dickinson, and Portex control this $1 billion global market with their standard epidural kits.
Stage: Technology development
Founded: April 2013
Investor: The Trendlines Group
IP: Patent in National phase, PCT, and provisional
Named one of "6 captivating start-ups of 2013" (Globes)
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