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Sistema de localización en tiempo real para tubos nasogástricos


Oferta Tecnológica
Un grupo de centros médicos de Singapur, en colaboración con una universidad, han desarrollado un dispositivo que ofrece a profesionales sanitarios información en tiempo real de la trayectoria de tubos nasogástricos para garantizar una navegación segura y efectiva al atravesar la conexión crítica del esófago y la tráquea y acceder al tracto gastrointestinal. Se trata de un enfoque no invasivo que sirve para orientar visualmente al enfermero en tiempo real y de forma sencilla e intuitiva durante los procesos de intubación. El equipo ha realizado pruebas con cadáveres y busca socios en el sector de dispositivos médicos con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación en materia de investigación, licencia y comercialización con asistencia técnica.


Real-time localisation system for nasogastric tubes
A Singapore group of public healthcare institutes and its university collaborator have developed a device which provides healthcare workers with real-time feedback on the trajectory of nasogastric tubes for safe and effective navigation past the critical esophagus-trachea junction and into the gastro-intestinal site.

The group has conducted cadaveric testing and seeks medical device industrial partners for research cooperation, licensing, commercial agreement with technical assistance.
Annually, an estimated 1.2 million nasogastric (NG) feeding tubes are being placed in the US. NG tubes are commonly used across the world to provide nutrition and medication on a short-to-medium term basis to patients with dysphagia caused by stroke, cerebrovascular accident, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and cerebral trauma, including the ailing elderly population.

Intubation is mostly performed "blind", resulting in incorrect placements ranging between 1.3% to 50%. While standard clinical practice requires testing the pH of the aspirate followed by X-ray to visually confirm the correct placement of the NG tube, these tests are often unreliable, with reports showing misinterpretation of x-rays accounting for half of all incidents and deaths following an intubation procedure. Besides the risk of pneumothorax, aspiration pneumonia and potential puncture of lungs caused by incorrect placement of NG tubes, exposure to harmful radiation also poses health risks to patients.

Given that the risk of placing the NG tube in the lungs is highest at the esophagus-trachea junction, a technology has been developed that tracks the NG tube real time starting from the critical esophagus-trachea juncture (around the neck) to provide early warning of misplacements into the lungs and continues to track the tube into the gastro-intestinal space. It provides a non-invasive approach to visually guide the nurse real-time in a simple yet intuitive manner during intubation. By ensuring correct placement of the NG tube, this technology effectively prevents health risks to patients and reduces procedural costs associated with x-rays.

The device comprises:

1. A permanent magnet (PM) embedded at the tip of the tube,
2. External magnetic sensors embedded in a wearable device(s),
3. Computational system that wirelessly receives and processes data from magnetic sensors, and
4. Real-time monitoring system that displays the position of the NG tube tip.

The magnetic field generated by the small yet powerful PM works without power supply or wired connections that would otherwise affect existing workflows. As the tube traverses down the alimentary canal, the magnetic sensors outside the patient body continuously tracks and measures the static magnetic field of the PM. Data collected is processed using computational algorithms to determine the position and orientation of the PM in space and represented in a user-friendly, intuitive display system to guide the nurse during intubation.

The group is interested in establishing license agreements and research cooperation agreements with partners (SMEs or MNEs) from the healthcare or medical device industry to commercialise the technology.
Advantages and Innovations:
The current prototype has a first set of sensors placed around the neck to guide the nurse as the tube passes through the critical esophagus-trachea junction. A second set of sensors located mid-way down the esophagus (chest) determines the tube location in the esophagus while a third set of sensors positioned over the stomach determines and confirms the correct placement of the NG tube in the stomach.

The research team is currently focused on refining the existing display system to be more intuitive and user-friendly.

The proposed magnetic field-based localization system is aimed at benefitting both the patient in terms of safety as well as the nurse by providing accurate and reliable placement of the NG tube. The advantages are summarized below:

1. Reliable, real-time continuous tracking indicating NG tube location during insertion
2. Easy to use, compact and intuitive, does not require specially trained personnel or specialized equipment
3. Expeditious, no additional confirmation steps after insertion to allow feeding or aspiration to occur directly after NG tube insertion
4. Radiation free and safe procedure
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The types of partners sought include:
- >500
- >500 MNE
- 251-500
- SME 11-50
- SME 51-250

The types of partnerships considered include:
- Commercial agreement with technical assistance
- License agreement
- Research cooperation agreement

The role of the partner would be to either commercialise the technology to bring to market or to further develop this technology and commercialise it to meet the needs of the addressable market in the healthcare industry.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
06001005 Diagnósticos, diagnosis
06001010 Gerontología y geriatría
06001 Medicina, salud humana
06001013 Tecnología médica / ingeniería biomédica