Inserting catheters can be challenging for medical staff under the best of circumstances, but a device invented by a team led by a University of Iowa nurse could make the process easier and less painful for both staff and patient.

Prototype for Segmented Stabilization System for IV Catheter Insertion

Robert Anderson, a registered nurse in the medical intensive care unit of UI Hospitals and Clinics, and members of the Iowa Medical and Innovations Group (IMIG) have developed a “Segmented Stabilization System for IV Catheter Insertion.” The UI Research Foundation secured an exclusive license with China-based Hangzhou Fushan Medical Appliances Co. Ltd. to bring the technology to the marketplace. 

IMIG is co-sponsored by the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the colleges of Business, Law, Medicine, and Engineering. The program pairs students with medical professionals who have identified a need for a medical device and then the team works on a solution.

Fushan, established in 2005 and located in Hangzhou City, manufactures high-quality silicone and plastic disposables.

“The university is excited to see innovative medical technology like this developed here at the University of Iowa make its way to the global market,” said David Conrad, UI assistant vice president for economic development. “Through the UI Research Foundation, UI Partners, and UI Ventures programs, our office works to support and create a culture of entrepreneurship at the university, creating a framework for economic progress for the State of Iowa in the 21st century global economy.”

Conrad said the UIRF executed 40 options and licenses in FY2015, a 25 percent increase over the previous year.

According to a survey conducted at UI Hospitals and Clinics, Anderson said the most difficult aspect of placing a peripheral intravenous (IV) line into a patient is threading the catheter into a blood vessel. On average, a patient is poked 2.4 times before a peripheral IV is successfully placed; the number is higher with especially sick patients, including those receiving chemotherapy, IV drug abusers, the elderly, and patients in critical care units.

The "Segmented Stabilization System" uses a modified guide wire technique to stabilize the needle tip in the blood vessel and allow the catheter to more easily thread into the vessel, which may reduce the number of failed insertion attempts.

"We’re thrilled to enter into this exclusive license agreement with Fushan Medical,” Anderson said. “Fushan Medical has a deep understanding of the potential for this technology and the benefit that it will have on all patients requiring IV therapies."

In a statement about the agreement, Fushan said there is currently no product like the Segmented Stabilization System for IV Catheter Insertion currently on the China market.

“This product has an innovative design and we believe it has a bright future with professional support from UIRF,” the company said.

In order to further develop this technology and bring it to market, Anderson launched BloodWorks LLC, a small medical device development company aimed at developing real-world solutions for problems observed in practice. BloodWorks, which is currently working on the development of additional technologies, includes members of past IMIG groups: health care professionals, biomedical engineers, and attorneys. More at

The UI Research Foundation is part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, which provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.