GiFT: Guidance for Tracheostomy – Revolutionising Percutaneous Dilatational Tracheostomy

GiFT logo (green)

What is it?

The GiFT (Guidance for Tracheostomy) project is a groundbreaking innovation in the field of tracheostomy devices, offering unprecedented precision and safety in Percutaneous Dilatational Tracheostomy (PDT). Developed by leading ICU and engineering experts, GiFT uses an advanced electromagnetic guidance system to enhance the accuracy and safety of tracheostomy procedures, addressing significant challenges faced by medical professionals.

Watch this snapshot video to see how the technology works:


The Challenge

Percutaneous Dilatational Tracheostomy, a common and critical procedure performed at the bedside in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), involves inserting a breathing tube into the airway. Approximately 300,000 tracheostomies are performed annually in the UK, US, and EU. However, 25% of these procedures are complicated due to patients’ anatomical variations, such as obesity, which can obscure key landmarks. This often necessitates a shift to surgical tracheostomy, introducing delays, higher costs, and increased risks.

Surgical needle entering skin - tracheostomy

The GiFT Solution

GiFT addresses these challenges by employing an electromagnetic field transmitter that interacts with two sensors. One sensor is placed within a bronchoscope inserted into the patient’s airway, while the other is embedded within the tracheostomy needle. This system creates a real-time 3D visualisation of the needle’s exact position relative to the trachea, providing medical professionals with unparalleled precision. This innovative approach improves the accuracy of needle placement by four times, significantly reducing the risk of complications and enhancing patient outcomes.

Flick through the slider below using the arrows to see how the GiFT ‘traffic light’ system effectively guides needle placement:

Key Features and Benefits

Enhanced Accuracy: GiFT offers a fourfold improvement in needle placement accuracy for both novice and experienced practitioners, reducing the risk of complications such as needle misplacement.
Increased Safety: The precise guidance system minimizes procedural risks, potentially transforming up to 60% of surgical tracheostomies into bedside procedures.
Cost Efficiency: By enabling more procedures to be safely conducted at the bedside, GiFT reduces the need for expensive surgical interventions and shortens ICU stays by an estimated 4.4 days per patient.
Improved Outcomes: The device’s accuracy and safety enhancements lead to better patient outcomes, faster recovery times, and decreased healthcare costs.

The Team

Our project is led by experts in ICU medicine and engineering from the University of Manchester. Their combined expertise ensures that GiFT is at the forefront of medical innovation, driving improvements in procedural safety and efficiency.

Group of medical professionals and engineers stand in a group outside a hospital : the GiFT team)

From left to right: Yuang Tang (PhD student MACE), Dr Glen Cooper (Reader MACE – Regulatory Lead) Lutong Li (Research Associate MACE), Professor Caroline Jay (Professor of Computer Science: Software Lead) Patrick Hall (Designing Science Ltd: Design Lead) Dr Cliff Shelton (Consultant Anaesthetist and Senior Clinical Lecturer: Qualitative lead), Professor Andrew Weightman (Professor of Medical Mechatronics: Engineering Lead), Professor Brendan McGrath (Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine: Clinical Lead) Dr Peter Alexander Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine: Research Lead)

Explore the detailed research and findings behind GiFT in the published paper in iScience here.

Licensing and Partnership Opportunities

We are seeking co-development partners and licensees to join us in advancing GiFT through its current design control phase and into clinical trials. Our goal is to streamline the path to market, ensuring that this revolutionary device can benefit patients and healthcare providers worldwide as swiftly as possible.

For more information about licensing and partnering opportunities with GiFT, please get in touch with the Head of Licensing and Investment for Life Sciences:

Tibor Papp