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Catheter Technology

Catheter Technology

3P's engineers are inventors on yet another patent for the 'Urinary Catheter Valve' which has just been formally published. 3P's engineers generate significant IP for clients and are now named inventors on over 300 patent applications, many of which are owned by clients. As part of an NHS funded development programme, 3P developed a new catheter technology that uses the same valve technology as in a squeezy ketchup bottle. It has the potential to halve infection rates and save the NHS millions of pounds.

Catheters can be used long- or short-term to drain the bladder as part of a hospital procedure but it does come with a risk and side effects. Directly or indirectly, use of catheters causes 250,000 serious infections, 3,000 deaths and up to £500 million in healthcare costs each year in the UK, according to researchers at Southampton University. However, laboratory trials of a new design of catheter carried out at the Bristol Urological Institute found it cut infection rates by up to 50 per cent. Catheter designs have stayed mainly the same since the 1930s, even though they suffer blockage issues when worn long-term. A catheter can be blocked and cause ‘soft tissue damage’ and the stale urine that sits within the bladder can lead to infection.

The new valve restores the body's natural bladder protection by ensuring it fills and empties more naturally. "It works like any pressure-relief valve." says Dr. Dave Seaward, Project Director at 3P. "When the bladder is full, the urine creates a pressure to open the valve in the catheter. With this new technology, once open, it stays open until there is no pressure left, meaning the bladder is completely emptied.

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