Smooth Saline

Catheter Maintenance - Low-cost challenges in the developing world


Member profile details

Membership level
2012-2013 Team
Team Name
Smooth Saline
Project Title
Catheter Maintenance - Low-cost challenges in the developing world
Design Challenge
In the developed world, single-use, pre-filled saline syringes are used to maintain the integrity and sterility of a catheter port. This technology is not appropriate for use in low-resource medical settings due to its high cost and reliance on disposables. Our team aims to design a multi-use flushing device that minimizes the risk of saline contamination and catheter colonization while reducing product costs by at least 50%. This design has the potential to save clinician time and patient life in low-resource settings.
Design Summary
The EZFlush consists of a standard IV tubing set with a flexible polyethylene “flush chamber” located partway down its length to allow for the repeated, sterile flushing of catheters using saline directly from an IV bag. To use the EZFlush, saline from a standard IV bag is first measured into the flush chamber, and then manually squeezed into the patient’s catheter. Pinch valves are used to control the direction of fluid flow between the IV bag, flush chamber, and catheter. The saline remains within the closed system for the entire flush, maximizing safety and sterility, and the tubing is reusable for 3-7 days, minimizing the cost per flush. The device is quick and easy to use and fits with current clinical workflow because most patients are already connected to an IV bag of saline. By simply modifying an existing product rather than designing a new device, we expect a higher adoption rate and lower production cost.

As of April 2013, we have completed volume, time, occlusion, durability, and waste testing. Our results show that the EZFlush consistently flushes within 10% of desired volumes, requires 65 seconds to use, is 94% sensitive in detecting occlusion, withstands temperatures ranging from 0°C to 45°C, and produces 99.8% waste than pre-filled syringes.

Last Updated: 04/23/2013
Sponsor Logo
  • Global Health Technologies
  • Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Dr. Ann Saterbak
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Dr. Maria Oden
Award(s) and Recognition
4th Annual Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition: First Place

3rd Annual Beyond Traditional Borders National Undergraduate Global Health Design Competition: 1st Place (tied)

2013 Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase: Best Global Health Techn

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


Industry Partners