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New catheter safety device gains initial backing from NICE

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A new device that can make it easier to place central venous catheters via veins in patients’ upper arms could be set for approval soon.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is consulting on guidance over the device, which allows the tubes to be placed correctly to deliver antibiotics and other liquids through veins, as well as monitoring blood pressure and other conditions.

“Using the Sherlock system avoids the need for a chest X-ray to confirm catheter position”

Carole Longson

When this practice involves a vein in or near the arm, it is called a peripherally inserted central catheter. The new Sherlock 3CG Tip Confirmation System has been supported by draft guidance from NICE, which was published today.

It uses ECG and magnetic technology to provide real-time tracking to slash the possibility of error.

The current procedure sees the catheter placed “blind”, followed by an X-ray to check its position. This can be a time-consuming process.

The Sherlock’s manufacturers say the benefits include the catheter being positioned more accurately, avoiding any delays in the process.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE centre for health technology evaluation, said: “Using the Sherlock system avoids the need for a chest X-ray to confirm catheter position, which is often required with blind catheter insertion.

“This avoids any related delay in using the catheter for providing treatments or in monitoring,” she said.

“Using the technology also increases staff and patient confidence of the accuracy of the procedure during catheter insertion. We welcome comments on the draft guidance during this consultation,” she added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Why is this photo being used to illustrate an article about a catheter to be placed in the wrist?

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  • Steve Ford

    The image has now been altered to hopefully better reflect the contents of the article

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