Safer Injection System for Regional Anaesthesia (SAFIRA)

Inventor(s): Dr Peter Young, Dr Emad Fawzy, Dr Joseph Carter and Dr John Gibson
Member Trust: Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

Award Amount:  £80,000

Award Duration:  3 months

Background: Regional anaesthesia involves the injection of local anaesthesia near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. Over 6 million regional anaesthetic blocks are performed each year throughout the EU and US.

Safer Injection System for Regional Anaesthesia (SAFIRA) provides a simpler, quicker and cheaper method to inject regional anaesthetic agents and reduces the risks associated with the standard procedure.

Current regional anaesthesia practice requires two operators: an anaesthetist who holds an ultrasound scanner and uses this to guide the needle tip placement and a second operator to inject the anaesthetic solution. The second operator manually ensures the correct pressure is used. Studies have shown that this operator finds it difficult to judge the pressure correctly and less than 4% of anaesthetists are confident their assistants are applying the correct pressure. In addition, high pressure above 15 psi has been shown to cause serious nerve damage.

The SAFIRA system eliminates the need for a second operator and allows the anaesthetist to control the entire delivery of anaesthetic with user-friendly actuator controls for use with the needle or ultrasound probe.

Project Plan for Award: The award will develop the current SAFIRA prototype in conjunction with development partner, 42 Technology, towards a first in man study.