Baltimore, MD (May 25, 2022) – Sonavex, Inc., a privately held medical device company with ultrasound technologies that deliver quantitative blood flow and other critical vascular data at the point of care, announced today that it was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop EchoGuide, Sonavex’s newest technology designed to reduce cannulation injury. The grant provides capital for ongoing research and development activities and user validation testing to demonstrate improved cannulation success.
By 2025, there will be 4.9M patients on dialysis worldwide with End Stage Renal Disease that require access to their circulation (cannulation) to enable blood filtration via hemodialysis three times per week to survive1. The preferred method of access, an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), is notoriously challenging for dialysis technicians to cannulate, and cannulation errors lead to serious complications such as hematoma, infection, and aneurysm formation2. Cannulation failures and injuries of new AVFs are common with over half of fistulae experiencing cannulation trauma within the first 3 dialysis sessions and 91% within 6 months3.
The annual rate of major infiltration is over 5% with each incident leading to an extra 97 days of dangerous central venous catheter dependency, a mean of 2.4 diagnostic visits or interventions, and thrombosis in 26% of cases4. Across extended catheter time and additional interventions, each major infiltration costs $24,302, totaling $917M annually in the U.S. and $5.4B globally4,5.
The primary challenge faced by Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) or “dialysis techs” is the inability to see the fistula when attempting to place needles into the fistula vessel (cannulate). Sonavex is developing a visually-guided cannulation navigation system via an automated 3D ultrasound called EchoGuide. This system requires no ultrasound experience and is designed to allow dialysis technicians to easily cannulate AVFs, avoiding the morbid and costly complications associated with current cannulation challenges.
“Sonavex would like to thank the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH for supporting this important research,” said Dr. Alex Yevzlin, Chief Medical Officer of Sonavex. “The uncertainty of cannulation is a constant source of stress for this vulnerable patient population, and we believe that our imaging solution has the potential to make a major contribution to ESRD patient health by improving fistula survival via decreasing the rate of access-induced injuries.”
This research is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44DK131644. The content in this release is solely the responsibility of Sonavex and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
About Sonavex, Inc.
Sonavex, Inc. is a Baltimore-based medical device company originally spun out of Johns Hopkins. The company has developed a portfolio of novel ultrasound solutions that empower patient care by delivering critical visual and quantitative data to improve outcomes and reduce costs. For more information, please visit www.sonavex.com.
Phone: (443) 862-2020
1 Fresenius 2018 Annual Report
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5 CMS OPPS Fee Schedule 2019, CMS Physician Fee Schedule