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The safer injection

   UK HEALTHCARE COMPANY Response Medical has launched Surety™ Needle, a new retractable safety needle developed to eliminate the threat of needlestick injuries – the second most common cause of accidents to NHS staff.

Surety Needle is compatible with all commonly-used syringes. It can be used for blood draw, intramuscular and intravenous injections. The needle is designed for one-handed operation and, once retracted, cannot be reused. During use, the fingers do not go forward of the contaminated needle.

Over 40,000 needlestick injuries occur in the UK every year. Penetration of the skin with a contaminated needle exposes the victim to bloodborne infections such as HIV and hepatitis. The cost of needlestick injuries is estimated to be £500,000 per annum to each NHS Trust.

Matthew Root, Managing Director of Response Medical, said: “Needlestick injuries are the silent threat which haunt every ward and clinic up and down the country. But with Surety™ Needle, healthcare employers can now safely exercise their duty of care towards employees.”

Response Medical is based in Gloucestershire, and is part of the International Medical Devices (IMD) Group. For more details, visit www.suretyproducts.com or www.responsemedical.co.uk.

New spinal implants for UK

AMERICAN SPINAL IMPLANT SUPPLIER X-spine Systems, Inc. has contracted Highland Medical Ltd of Oxfordshire as the designated UK distributor for its products.

This agreement follows the CE Mark approval of X-spine’s Capless™ and Spider Cervical™ spinal implant products for distribution in the EU. “We are thrilled to be bringing the Capless and Spider systems to Europe,” said David Kirschman, MD, President of X-spine Systems. “These products incorporate technologies not currently available to European surgeons, so we feel that there is a great opportunity to build X-spine’s presence.”

The Capless™ Pedicle Screw System incorporates a rotary locking mechanism that affixes the rod in place without a separate cap or setscrew. This allows for faster surgeries without the risk of cap loosening, cap loss or cross-threading, and reduces the number of parts to stock and inventory. The Spider Cervical™ Plating System consists of a cervical fixation plate with a patented “resilient arm” locking mechanism. The system also eliminates false screw locking by providing auditory, tactile and visual feedback to the surgeon. X-spine Systems, Inc. develops proprietary technology for the spinal surgery industry. For more details, visit www.x-spine.com.

Monitor for leg ulcer care

   A NEW UK PRESSURE MONITOR that increases the accuracy of leg ulcer treatment will be launched at the Medica 2007 trade fair in Germany.

The Vowden Trainer monitor, from UK company Ulsys, allows the pressure applied by compression bandaging – the preferred treatment for venous leg ulcers – to be accurately measured and optimised. Ulsys developed this solution in response to the problems of inconsistent pressure application, and with the support of leaders in clinical care and bandage assessment.

Mick Karol, Managing Director of Ulsys, said: “Pressure sores and venous leg ulcers are the most common form of chronic wounds in the Western world. We have developed the Vowden Trainer to allow for greater accuracy in the treatment of such wounds, and are looking to source distributors and joint venture partners.”

Prof. Peter Vowden, Head of the Department of Vascular Surgery and Wound Healing at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said: “This revolutionary device provides a much-needed solution for training in the treatment of leg ulcers. It allows healthcare professionals to ascertain the exact level of pressure they are applying with the bandage, and hopefully allows them to improve effectiveness and safety of care.”

Ulsys is based in Halifax, and specialises in pressure monitoring. For more details, visit www.ulsys.co.uk.

Specialist clinic installs PACS

A PRIVATE ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC at St Luke’s Hospital in Oxford has become one of the first smaller specialist clinics to adopt picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) for radiographic images. 

St Luke’s has installed Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Web 1000 solution, a web-deployable PACS for radiology services that receives, distributes, archives and displays radiographic images. Through a digital connection to virtually any imaging modality, departmental units are able to gain an integrated view of patient data from a single interface.

“At our facility, the ‘before and after’ picture with Agfa IMPAX has been quite dramatic,” explains Jean Leece, consultant radiographer at the clinic. “Although there is a slight incremental increase in the amount of time one needs to spend entering patient data into IMPAX, once this is complete the system works beautifully. Editing patient files and managing radiographic images has become a substantially more efficient process.” Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading provider of IT-enabled systems for image management in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For more details, visit www.agfa.com.

UK device wins innovation award

INCOSTRESS, a new device to prevent female stress incontinence, has won the Gold medal for Innovation at the British Innovation and Technology Awards. Produced by C&G Medicare Ltd, Incostress offers a non-surgical solution to stress incontinence – which affects some 4 million women in the UK – by providing support to the bladder and urethra. The launch of the device, with support from the Wales Innovation Network, follows clinical trials at Singleton Hospital, Swansea and focus groups around Europe. 

The trials reported patients with serious incontinence problems being taken off surgery lists. The award was presented at The British Invention Show, Alexandra Palace, London. Gaynor Morgan, director of C&G Medicare Ltd and inventor of Incostress, said: “Clinical studies and user feedback confirm that Incostress begins to work immediately, bringing instant relief to sufferers of this awful condition.

“Incontinence is still regarded as a taboo subject. Maybe a simple non-surgical solution, in the form of Incostress, can restore personal confidence and provide a way to bring incontinence into the open for the benefit of all women.”

For more details, visit www.incostress.com.

Bionic foot makes its mark

ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALIST OSSUR has won a 2007 da Vinci award for its innovative prosthesis, the Proprio Foot™. The Proprio Foot is the first prosthetic foot able to respond automatically to changing terrain, as when climbing stairs. It belongs to Ossur’s FlexFoot range of bionic prostheses, whose UK users include footballer Spike Westbrook (see On Target, February 2007).

The da Vinci Awards, made annually in the USA by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, honour outstanding achievements in engineering related to product design and application.

“We take great pleasure in knowing that the Proprio Foot has won the 2007 da Vinci Award,” said Eythor Bender, President of Ossur America. “The foot was launched in September 2006, and the US Department of Defense and the VA are actively using it to benefit servicemen. It is also quickly becoming the foot of choice for diabetic amputees all over the world.”

The product was designed together with UK company DesignEdge. According to Alasdair Barnett in www.electronicsweekly. com, “Ossur developed the complex internal electronics and mechanisms and DesignEdge worked in partnership with engineers in Iceland to design the external forms. The resulting design was well received by users for both its style and performance.” 

The Proprio Foot has also won the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award and Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 Medical Devices Technology Innovation Award. Ossur’s UK operation is based in Manchester. For

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