Obstetric airway management trainer

With IP advice and commercial partner engagement, Medipex help a new obstetric airway management trainer move towards manufacture and commercialisation.

Airway managementThe clinical need:

General anaesthesia for obstetric surgery is often delivered in emergency situations where specific physiological and physical features found in pregnant patients that affect oxygenation can be overlooked. These features, in combination with others, such as the frequent out-of-hours timing of obstetric work and the junior level of anaesthetic cover with reduced senior help available, can lead to difficulty in correct assessment and potentially a failed intubation. Failure to intubate the trachea can have disastrous consequences for both mother and the unborn baby. The rate of failed intubation for general anaesthesia in the obstetric population is 1 in 390 cases and has remained largely unchanged over the last four decades. The incidence of failed intubation in pregnant women is estimated to be eight times that of the non-pregnant population. There is currently a complete void in the commercial market for low-fidelity female-specific airway management trainers.

The innovation challenge:

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) fabricated a working prototype obstetric airway management trainer that incorporates the difficult airway features found specifically in the obstetric population presenting for a general anaesthetic. The prototype (called Holly) addresses the unmet need by incorporating female-specific features into the head and torso as well as some more general features that the inventors feel are an improvement on currently available models. STH sought support to determine the best route to market and to engage with commercial partners to support this activity.

How did Medipex help?

Medipex supported the NHS Trust by providing intellectual property advice to underpin the NHS Trust’s IP strategy, including how to protect their IP. We have also facilitated the engagement with a commercial partner that may be able to undertake future co-development, testing, manufacture and commercialisation.


Identifying a suitable route to market, and successfully securing a commercial partner that can facilitate such, would enable the roll-out of this trainer to other hospitals (nationally and potentially internationally), giving confidence to clinicians and ultimately save lives.

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