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Award presented to innovative anaesthetist

NIC-Anaesthesia-2014-ArticleToday the annual prize for Innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain will be presented to Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in King’s Lynn. Dr Mariyaselvam’s invention has been developed to improve the safety of arterial lines. An arterial line is a thin catheter inserted into an artery and is associated with complications including bacterial contamination and blood spillage.

The award is given by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) at its Winter Scientific Meeting held in London and will be presented by the AAGBI President, Dr Andrew Hartle.

Applications for the award were open to all anaesthetists and intensive care doctors with the emphasis on new ideas contributing to patient safety, high quality clinical care and improvements in the working environment. Commenting on the award, Dr Hartle said:

“Anaesthetists are very inventive individuals, always at the forefront of innovations and practical solutions. I’m thrilled with the number of high quality applicants we had. Dr Mariyaselvam’s innovation is insightful and original and could really improve the way anaesthetists work and also contribute to patient safety”.

Dr Mariyaselvam’s innovation would be the only device of its kind available on the market to promote arterial line safety. The innovation is called The Non Injectable Arterial Connector (NIC) and is a needlefree connector which is screwed onto the side port of a three-way tap. It has a one-way valve that allows aspiration only, making blood gas sampling easier, preventing blood spillage and bacterial contamination of the arterial line.

Winning the award will allow the product or idea to be showcased before medical equipment manufacturers including award sponsors Intersurgical, 3M Healthcare and Fannin, and will help with funds towards testing and marketing.

Dr Mariyaselvam commented on her innovation and winning the award:

“The Non-Injectable Arterial Connector (NIC) was designed to improve the safety of arterial lines. It prevents bacterial contamination, blood spillage during sampling and the accidental administration of medication into the arterial line, which although a rare event, can be potentially devastating if it occurs. It is fantastic to be nominated for the AAGBI Innovation Prize as it highlights the work being done by the Kings Lynn Institute of Patient Safety (KLIPS) and will help to improve not only arterial line safety, but also the adoption of patient safety devices in the NHS.”

The winner was chosen by a panel of experts including anaesthetists Professor Monty Mythen, Professor Jaideep Pandit and Dr Tim Meek.


BBC Report on the Needle-Free Arterial Non-Injectable Connector (NIC)



The Award Winning Cannula Dressing

The novel Cannula Dressing is the idea of Barbara Jameson and Pat Hogg, ITU nurses at the University Hospital of North Durham. In 2008, the design picked up second prize in the regional 'Bright Ideas in Health Awards', and with support from NHS Innovation North was developed into a product.


The dressing has been designed for use with arterial cannulae. Critically ill patients require constant monitoring so that changes in their condition can be rapidly recognised and early treatment administered. An important tool routinely used in the critical care setting is arterial blood pressure monitoring.

This is done by inserting a cannula into an artery, which is attached to a monitor and continuously records the blood pressure and allows for blood samples to be taken without the use of needles.

However, as an invasive device it has the potential to cause many serious complications if not managed correctly. Accidental injection of medicines into the arterial lines can be disastrous therefore it needs to be easily identifiable from other lines. Arterial line dressings need to be secure to prevent accidental removal as profuse bleeding can happen if this occurs. The insertion point of the cannula needs to be visible to allow staff to monitor for signs of infection.

The innovative dressing designed by Barbara and Pat solves these potential problems reducing clinical risk to patients. The new dressing is clearly marked in red as an arterial line so it easily identifiable from other lines. It has a higher strength adhesive and large contact area in order to reduce the chance of the line being accidently pulled out.

There is space for the date of insertion to be written clearly on the dressing and there is a window in the dressing to allow staff to visibly assess the insertion site of the line for early signs of infection.

Improving safety of blood sampling

In August 2013, the following article published in The Clinical Services Journal:


A novel device, invented by two consultants from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Trust, was designed to help prevent known risks associated with conventional arterial lines.

Arterial lines are routinely used in critical care areas for sampling arterial blood to measure blood gases, glucose and electrolytes. However, safety risks have been identified when using conventional arterial lines, prompting the issue of a Rapid Response Report by the NHS National Patient Safety Agency, in July 2008.

Current arterial line systems do not prevent intra-arterial injection of drugs and this has been a reported complication which can result in dramatic consequences such as skin loss, tissue necrosis, loss of a limb or potentially loss of life.

In response to this problem, two consultants from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Trust (QEH) invented a novel device which increases the safety of patients undergoing blood sampling. Now in commercial production, the Non- Injectable Connector for Arterial System was devised by Dr Joseph Carter and Dr Peter Young, with help from Health Enterprise East (HEE), the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England.

The Non-injectable Connector (NIC) has a unique design incorporating a one-way valve, so that it only allows removal of the blood and prevents anything from being injected into the arterial line. It also stops blood from leaking out of the system should the three-way tap be accidentally left open. Intra-arterial cannulae and monitoring systems are frequently used to facilitate beat-to-beat monitoring of blood pressure and to allow blood sampling.

The innovation won the Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Award for Medical Technology in the 2009 Innovation Competition organised by HEE. It was also recognised in the National 2011 Patient Safety Awards.

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