Recent developments in airway visualization technology (video laryngoscopes) have resulted in a clinical need for an interfacing, universal drug-delivery device, specifically a topical anesthetic applicator. Procedures such as airway intubation for lung protection and artificial breathing, endoscopy for airway visualization, and bronchoscopy for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures use a variety of devices to visualize and enter a patient’s windpipe (trachea).
Airway intervention procedures are very stimulating and often lead to adverse reactions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), tachycardia (fast heart rates), tachyarrhythmia (fast, abnormal heart rhythms), coughing, and increased intracranial pressure. Furthermore, these adverse events can lead to more serious injuries such as heart attack, stroke, and/or death in the most severe cases. To combat these problems, a topical anesthetic applicator is used in conjunction with a laryngoscope to anesthetize the throat and windpipe before or during airway intervention.
Topical anesthetic applicators that interface with traditional direct laryngoscopes (DLs) require the physician to manually straighten a patient’s upper airway to achieve a direct line-of-sight of the airway. However, currently used applicators are either too stiff, too malleable, too short, and/or do not provide an ideal spray pattern to work well with the geometry and conditions of use of recently developed indirect (optical and video) laryngoscopes (ILs), which facilitate airway intervention with the patient’s head and neck in their “natural” position. Thus, STELA™ has been designed to overcome these challenges and will offer healthcare providers an anesthetic applicator that can be effectively used with both indirect and direct laryngoscopes.
The next steps for STELA Medical includes rapid prototyping the next generation STELA™ in order to begin testing for FDA 510(k) clearance (which is expensive!). Concurrently, the STELA Team will use these prototypes to further survey practicing healthcare professionals, and get more physicians on board to help market the device to potential licensees. This device will have the most success if licensed to a larger company that already manufactures similar technologies, and the STELA Team knows the most important thing is to get this device on the market as quickly as possible to improve patient care.
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