Intravenous (IV) injections have long been relied upon in the medical field for their quick action and continuous administration of medication. However, the use of traditional hard needles poses various health concerns, from minor tissue damage to the spread of blood-borne diseases. To address these challenges, a team of researchers at KAIST in South Korea has developed an innovative solution—the Phase-Convertible, Adapting, and non-REusable (P-CARE) needle.
The P-CARE needle is designed to soften upon insertion, reducing the risk of damage to blood vessels and tissues. This unique feature is achieved through the use of liquid metal gallium, which forms a hollow needle frame encapsulated in ultra-soft silicone material. When exposed to body temperature, the gallium melts, allowing for stable drug delivery without harming blood vessels. This softening effect remains even after use, preventing needlestick accidents and the unethical reuse of needles.
One remarkable aspect of the P-CARE needle is the integration of a thin-film temperature sensor. This sensor enables real-time monitoring of a patient’s core body temperature and can detect fluid leakage during IV medication administration. This advanced feature eliminates the need for additional medical tools or procedures, enhancing patient care and safety.
In addition to its biocompatibility and reliability in delivering medications, the P-CARE needle has been proven to reduce inflammation compared to standard IV access devices made of metal or plastic. The needle’s variable stiffness also holds promise for redesigning other medical needles and sharp tools, minimizing muscle tissue injury during prolonged use.
With an estimated 16 billion medical injections administered worldwide each year, the issue of proper disposal and the risk of blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries or syringe reuse is a significant concern. The P-CARE needle has the potential to revolutionize clinical practices, improving patient safety and healthcare standards globally.
Q: What is the P-CARE needle?
A: The P-CARE needle is a softening IV needle developed by researchers at KAIST that reduces the risk of damaging blood vessels and tissues.
Q: How does the P-CARE needle work?
A: The needle is made of liquid metal gallium enclosed in ultra-soft silicone material. Upon insertion and exposure to body temperature, the gallium softens, resembling the surrounding tissue and allowing for safe drug delivery.
Q: What is the benefit of integrating a temperature sensor into the P-CARE needle?
A: The temperature sensor enables real-time monitoring of a patient’s core body temperature and can detect fluid leakage, enhancing patient care without the need for additional tools or procedures.
Q: How does the P-CARE needle contribute to patient safety?
A: The P-CARE needle remains soft after use, preventing needlestick accidents and discouraging the unethical reuse of needles, therefore reducing the risk of blood-borne infections.