Peripheral intravenous catheters (or IV’s) are the mainstay for providing therapies in modern medicine. Yet approximately 90 million people each year require multiple attempts to establish IV access. These extra attempts result in increased hospital cost associated with employee time, additional patient discomfort, and delays in delivering important therapies. Currently IV catheters rely upon blood return and they do not assist with advancing the catheter into the vein. ThreadRite is a modified standard catheter that immediately alerts clinicians to vein entry. It also employs a guidewire to help clinicians thread the IV right into the vein. ThreadRite will reduce patient pain as well as provider costs associated with this common problem.

Technology Description

ThreadRite consists of a modified standard IV catheter, which connects to a lightweight re-usable detection unit. The disposable unit has a guidewire in line with the needle and catheter. The guidewire-needle connects to the detector, which measures electrical resistance. Subcutaneous tissue has far higher resistance than blood, so the detection unit registers this resistance change and signals vessel entry instantly with a light, tone, and vibration. Once in the vessel, the guidewire facilitates catheter advancement.


  • Reduction in cost to healthcare systems that are not reimbursed for failed attempts. By eliminating multiple attempts, we save 1-2 hours wasted per 8 hour shift. This time savings translates into cost savings by reduced staffing on the IV team (e.g. from 4 to 3 nurses per shift) or redirection of effort for other important tasks (e.g. phlebotomy, maintenance of vascular access sites, placement nasogastric tubes, etc.)
  • Reduced patient pain and bruising from failed attempts, and hence improved satisfaction
  • Reduced adverse events including infiltrations, phlebitis, infections, and bruising –all of which are associated with multiple IV attempts
  • More rapid delivery of potentially life-saving therapies such as blood, fluid or antibiotics


  • Insertion of catheters (e.g. arterial, peritoneal, and pericardiocentesis)
  • Insertion of catheters into the cerebrospinal fluid
  • Placement of thoracostomy catheters into pleural effusions or pneumothoraces
  • Insertion of percutaneous tracheostomy tubes

IP Status

A US provisional patent application was filed on July 7, 2017.

Stage of Development

We have built a working prototype that is capable of distinguishing between subcutaneous tissue and blood. The design is being finalized in preparation for animal testing and human feasibility studies.

Notable Mentions

  • Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program: $50,000
  • Pitt Center for Medical Innovation: $20,000
  • Pitt Ventures First Gear: $3,000