The P-CARE needle that softens with body temperature. (Credit: KAIST)

Researchers have developed an intravenous (IV) needle that softens upon insertion, minimizing risk of damage to blood vessels and tissues. The Phase-Convertible, Adapting and non-REusable (P-CARE) needle with variable stiffness can improve patient health and ensure the safety of medical staff.

The technology reduces the risk of damage to the wall of the blood vessel as patients receive IV medication. This is possible with the needle’s stiffness-tunable characteristics which will make it soft and flexible upon insertion into the body due to increased temperature, adapting to the movement of thin-walled vein.

It is also expected to prevent blood-borne disease infections caused by accidental needlestick injuries or unethical re-using of syringes as the deformed needle remains perpetually soft even after it is retracted from the injection site.