November 13, 2023

Flexible IV needle aims to reduce needle injuries, infections

Editor's Note

Researchers have designed a new IV needle, called the Phase-Convertible, Adapting and non-REusable (P-CARE) needle, which becomes soft and flexible when inserted. The findings were published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on October 30. 

Some highlights of the article include:

  • Because medical IV needles are rigid, it allows them to be reused unethically, leading to the transmission of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B/C. 
  • Needlestick injuries are also frequent and can cause infections; IV needles are the most common medium of transmissible diseases.
  • The P-CARE needle becomes soft due to body heat when injected, preventing needlestick injuries. 
  • Because the P-CARE needle remains soft after use, it also prevents the possibility of blood-borne infections from reuse.

The World Health Organization announced a policy on safe injection practices in 2015–with use of smart syringes as part of this effort–due to a major spike in deadly infectious diseases from unsafe needle practices worldwide.

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