||Dr. Matthew R. Myers, research physicist, talks with Don Marlowe
about computer analysis of side-port spinal needles. A proposed
design modification for these needles has been analyzed via computational
fluid dynamics simulation by researchers at FDA/CDRH. The computer
simulations showed that the reduced orifice of the modified needle
leads to a substantially redirected anesthetic jet (relative to
the original design), and the potential exists for this jet to
mix poorly with the ventral wall of the spinal canal and eventually
pool in high concentrations. The researchers alerted the clinical
community to this potentially adverse effect in a journal publication.
Computer simulations reduce the need for device testing and enable
the FDA to respond more quickly in medical-device evaluations.