Catheter Connections said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved its application that covers the method used in its products to disinfect the connectors at the ends of intravenous tubing.
The Salt Lake City-based medical products company sells two FDA-cleared devices that use the method, with a third scheduled to be released later this year.
CEO Vicki Farrar said the patent is important because it protects the platform technology underlying Catheter Connection’s devices. “And it confirms we were the first to come up with a product that addresses a very serious problem in the health care industry.”
Farrar said that more than 500,000 patients in U.S. hospitals every year suffer from IV catheter-related blood stream infections and up to one in four patients dies as a result.
Catheter Connections, she said, was the first to recognize and demonstrate that connector contamination represented a significant risk factor.
“Our products disinfect IV end connectors without getting a drop of alcohol in the tubing,” she said, adding that the company’s products can go a long way to helping reduce hospital costs.
IV catheter-related blood stream infections can be prevented so that insurers don’t have to reimburse the hospital for treating them. Still, such infections are costing hospitals up to $11 billion annually, which means that hospitals on average are losing $47,000 per infection.