2019 InVenture Finalist: Ethos Medical
Ethos is making spinal taps quicker and safer by providing an intuitive real-time needle guidance system for use right at the patient’s bedside.
The three members of Ethos Medical have been building a device that could someday touch millions of lives, and they’ve been doing it in their apartment.
Three engineering graduates constructed a handheld medical device to help guide the placement of needles used for spinal tap procedures. The goal is to make the procedure safer by providing a tool to assist medical professionals in placing the injection correctly without having to guess or repeat to find a precise location.
“Sometimes procedures like a spinal tap or epidural can take up to an hour, with a needle having to be repeatedly reinserted due to missing the mark or striking bone,” explains co-founder Dev Mandavia.
One of the current challenges for physicians in spinal access procedures is that they must rely on the feel of the patient’s body to locate the spine. Ethos Medical’s device uses ultrasound technology to allow physicians to see where the needle is within the patient’s body to help locate anatomical markers and avoid potentially sensitive or dangerous areas.
“If the doctor can’t succeed, a patient is often sent to an x-ray setting and that’s expensive,” Mandavia says.
The device’s two-part system uses a needle guide attachment for existing ultrasound probes and software that helps process ultrasound images, making them easier for physicians to interpret. “We not only show the trajectory of the needle but give an idea of when they can and should insert the needle,” says Ethos Medical team member Cassidy Wang.
With these procedures, there’s little room for error.
“We hoped we could come up with a simple solution that any physician can pick up and use immediately,” explains mechanical engineer Lucas Muller.