Integrated ultrasound needle to facilitate placement of regional anaesthesia in obese pregnant women.

Organisation : NHS Lothian
Grant Amount : £ 33,458

Epidural anaesthesia and analgesia are commonly used in childbirth. Anatomical landmarks are identified by palpation and the epidural needle is placed between the vertebral bodies of the spine. This can be challenging in obese mothers who are at high risk of operative intervention. Prof. Desmulliez from Heriot-Watt has developed a needle for use in neurosurgery with an embedded ultrasound (US) chip at the tip for high resolution imaging of tumours and targeted needle tissue biopsy. Building on this work and in collaboration with anaesthetists and obstetricians, this project aims to i) identify the key design specifications required for a needle with integrated US for regional anaesthesia, ii) prepare computer assisted drawings (CAD) of a prototype needle and virtual imaging of what the needle “sees” and iii) survey the likely acceptance of this new technology into clinical practice.