The battle to reduce hospital infection rates continues with the effort now including newly designed medical devices as well as stronger and more widely used antimicrobial agents.
One interesting example is a method of disinfecting IV tubing end connectors that was granted a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Notice of Allowance for a patent application earlier this month.
Catheter Connections (Salt Lake City, UT) is now selling a product called DualCap that is based on that invention. It's described as the only FDA-cleared device for disinfection and protection of both the IV catheter
needleless luer access valve and the IV tubing end connector.
According to the patent application, the sealing member can be formed from silicone, polypropylene, polycarbonate, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or rigid or semi-rigid thermoset plastic. The company declined to identify the specific material it is using in the DualCap.
According to Catheter Connections, more than 500,000 American hospitals are affected every year by IV catheter-related blood stream infections and up to one in four patients die as a result. The cost has risen as high as $11 billion annually since Medicare decided more than two years ago to stop reimbursements for treatment of hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals are said to lose an average of $47,000 per infection.
Nurses are required to swab the ends of open IV lines with isopropyl alcohol. However, they often don't, according to Catheter Connections.
The company's single-use device contains two disinfecting caps-one for the needleless injection site (NIS) and one for the end of the IV tubing (male luer).
"This patent issuance is particularly valuable because it confirms that we were the first to innovate a medical device solution unlike any other. It further protects the platform technology underlying the company's DualCap System and is an indicator of the dominant position we expect to achieve worldwide," said Vicki Farrar, CEO of Catheter Connections.
The company declined to identify its molding partners.