For every 100,000 hospitalizations in the United States, 122 are caused by cardiogenic shock and 1,275 are caused by respiratory failure. In these cases, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend that ICU physicians and anesthesiologists insert pulmonary artery catheters (PACs), otherwise known as Swan-Ganz catheters, in patients to monitor their cardiac output and different pressures in the right side of the heart and pulmonary artery. Clinical personnel use the real-time data from these catheters to adjust the patients’ courses of treatment for severe illnesses including end-stage heart failure, kidney failure, and pulmonary hypertension, resulting in a 10-20% decrease in in-hospital mortality within the past fifteen years.
There are no other commercial products that holistically capture patient hemodynamics like a PAC. However, the PAC still has its shortcomings due to its tendency to migrate distally and radially in the pulmonary artery (PA), often getting lodged within the PA walls. This phenomenon increases risk for arrythmia, vessel wall rupture, and outputs inaccurate pressure readings, sometimes lethal complications with a 50% mortality rate. Repositioning a PAC involves pulling and pushing the catheter from the neck site, monitoring pressure waveforms and obtaining a chest x-ray to confirm positioning. Repositioning can introduce the patients to more risk of infection, bleeding, and trauma. Our solution integrates a deformable cage at the distal tip of the catheter to prevent distal and radial migration in the pulmonary artery for up to 29 days. This iteration has the potential to decrease the frequency of repositioning the catheter and reduce the number of people needed to adjust the PAC, which will lower the cost of the procedure and improve methods used to stabilize a patient’s cardiac function.