Development of a Sheath Torquing Tool for Minimally Invasive Procedures; Collective Action as a Framework for Evaluation Healthcare Equity

Pavuloori, Avinaash, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Mehta, Nishaki, Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Virginia

As a Biomedical Engineer, I am passionate about both engineering and life sciences, particularly in healthcare system solutions. My theses are both related in that they are aiming towards providing solutions to current healthcare issues. These theses are similar in that they both focus on healthcare solutions, but they differ in their implementation. My technical topic is more dependent on developing a specific design solution for ultrasound catheters used in the UVA electrophysiology (EP) lab. However, my STS research is more focused on identifying current issues related to healthcare accessibility in Charlottesville. Both of these focus on healthcare, but my technical topic provides a solution for physicians and technicians, while my STS topic is centered on identifying methods for improving local residents’ healthcare accessibility issues.
My technical thesis is focused on improving upon the manipulation of an ultrasound catheter. This project aims to provide a design solution to physicians and technicians that regularly use ultrasound catheters. This process began by initially interviewing technicians and physicians from the UVA EP Lab. These interviews focused on asking respondents what they felt was problematic with the current ultrasound catheters. Many indicated an issue with the locking system. People tended to have issues with the catheter torqueing back due to friction from the catheter tip turning during manipulation. As a result, my partner and I have designed two sheaths using CAD in order to fix this issue. One design involves a two piece hinge that encloses the catheter and adjusts the center of gravity in order to prevent unwanted rotation. The second design is a one piece sheath, and works by sliding onto the catheter to cover it. Future work in this project would be testing these two designs in a lab, so that physicians can provide feedback on the physical product. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, design testing was unable to be accomplished this semester.
My STS thesis is focused more on solving healthcare problems for local residents instead of hospital employees. There is a major healthcare disparity issue present across America, and specifically Charlottesville. There are many specific cases present in Charlottesville where residents are shown to be unhappy with the current healthcare policies. A framework adopted by Renate Douwes is applied in my thesis in order to evaluate the current policies Charlottesville. My research has found that the current policies are problematic due to their lack of promoting trust, altruism, and reciprocity with patients struggling with healthcare access. Furthermore, this research recommends that local Charlottesville policy makers consider asset development polices such as neighborhood strengthening programs. These programs would influence the public to have more trust with the healthcare community, thus leading to more altruism and reciprocity.
I would like to specifically thank my capstone partner (Anna Lam), capstone advisor (Dr. Nishaki Mehta), graduate student advisor (Katerina Morgaenko), and STS professor (Dr. Sean Ferguson). All of these individuals have provided great inspiration and assistance with my projects, and I could not have completed my work without their influence.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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