Vascoscope

A simple and effective ultrasound device to aid dialysis-nurses in obtaining vascular access in patients. The Vascoscope will improve the low uptake of ultrasound aids by dialysis nurses and thereby will reduce the incidence of miscannulations and related complications.

A simple and effective ultrasound device to aid dialysis-nurses in obtaining vascular access in patients. The Vascoscope will improve the low uptake of ultrasound aids by dialysis nurses and thereby will reduce the incidence of miscannulations and related complications.

Cannulation problems

Kidney dialysis may often provide a solution for people whose kidneys no longer function adequately. Their blood is cleansed outside their bodies, by means of dialysis equipment, on average three times a week, for four hours at a time. For this purpose, the patient undergo an operation to be fitted with a so-called artificial vein or shunt. This shunt is used to insert two needles for each new dialysis treatment. The cannulation of the shunt repeatedly fails on the first attempt. This is painful for the patient and may cause damage to the shunt, which may lead to infections and haemorrhaging and sometimes necessitates a new operation.

Correct cannulation can be aided by means of echo visualization, however existing equipment is not specifically geared to be used for dialysis.

More comfortable procedure for patient and dialysis nurse

An innovation developed at UMC Utrecht, the Vascoscope is a small echo device which strongly improves the visibility of the shunt in dialysis patients. This greatly facilitates the accurate cannulation of dialysis needles in kidney patients. Learning how to cannulate with the aid of the Vascoscope is exceedingly straightforward, thus allowing every nurse to use this technique on every patient.

 

“Securing the probe to the arm is an ideal solution for me. Now I can use both hands to cannulate correctly”, a nurse of the dialysis ward has told us.

 

People who have their dialysis treatment at home can also use this echo technology in the near future. Being able to cannulate accurately and consistently on the first try reduces the risk of complications. Moreover, this procedure is much more comfortable, for the patient as well as the nurse.

 

Here is a comment from a kidney patient: “The accurate cannulation of my shunt is of vital importance to me. This is my 6th shunt and if this one malfunctions I will need to undergo a kidney transplant. Therefore, I keep a close watch on the development of the Vascoscope”.

Collaboration
A number of partners have joined forces to develop this echo device, which is specifically designed for the cannulation of shunts.

 

Radiologist Jan Zijlstra, nephrologist Peter Blankestijn, and the CMO of Novioscan, Huibert Tjabbes, have won the Ureka Mega Challenge in 2015. They remain highly involved in the project.

 

Pontes Medical has entered into a collaboration with MTKF and Well Design and will start scaling-up the production of the Vascoscope with a commercial partner in the near future.

 

During the starting phase, we investigated – in close consultancy with nurses and patients – which requirements the Vascoscope will have to meet to become a success. Many prototypes and variations have preceded the current solution. A user trial with the first functional prototype was recently started at the dialysis department of UMC Utrecht. The
Vascoscope team is indebted to the dialysis team and the volunteering patients, for their willingness to participate as well as their interesting feedback.

The Kidney Foundation has supported the development of the Vascoscope from the start.

“In the past, I was able to dialyze at home, which saved me a lot of time and travel. This is no longer possible, because an echo device is needed to cannulate my current shunt. Consequently, I have to go to the hospital three times a week. It would be wonderful if I could just dialyze at home again with the aid of the Vascoscope”, says one patient.

 

Video
Britt and Urvin are introduced to the Vascoscope at the dialysis department in UMC Utrecht.

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