ivWatch, which markets a device that continuously monitors patients receiving intravenous lines, raised $14.8 million, which will boost its marketing and “strategic partner” activities.
Most hospital patients are given an IV line that delivers nutrients, fluid or medication. But the failure rate due to infiltration, or leakage, is estimated at more than 20%, according to ivWatch. Leakage of fluid or drugs into the surrounding tissue could result in complications as serious as tissue necrosis and amputation.
Hampton, Virginia-based ivWatch makes a device of the same name which includes a noninvasive sensor that uses light to detect leakage of IV fluid, a disposable case that holds it against a patient’s skin and a monitor that is mounted to the IV pole.
CEO Gary Warren likens the device to a seat belt: “Since it's difficult to predict when an accident will occur, people wear their seat belt for the duration of their travel. Similarly, since it's difficult to predict when an infiltration will occur, and we know it occurs too frequently, the ivWatch Model 400 represents a seat belt for patients with an IV," he said when the device launched in April last year.
Once the device is connected, it creates a baseline for the patient. Then, the device will emit light into the patient’s tissue and reflect it back. An algorithm tracks changes in light signals—the more leakage there is, the more scattered the reflected light is, which causes the light signal to weaken. Once it reaches a threshold, the monitor will send a notification telling care staff to check the IV.
The investors were undisclosed, but the company said they included angel investors and a major hospital system.
“The support ivWatch has seen from our investors and partners has been incredible. They are committed to seeing our technology, research, science and team make a true impact on the problems related to peripheral IV failure,” Warren said in a statement. “The momentum we are finding in the market is exciting, as healthcare providers see the benefits of improved patient safety and reduced risks associated with IV therapy.”