Medical Device Protects Healthcare Workers

Pete CodellaArticles, COVID-19

This article is part of a series featuring Utah-based companies and what they’re doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

In critically injured patients, intubation, or the placement of a flexible plastic tube into the windpipe, is easier with the Runnels Total Control Introducer™. 

Through the Cords, a Salt Lake City-based company is stepping up production and distribution of its intubation device, the Runnels Total Control Introducer TM (TCI), to meet the urgent need for first-attempt intubation success during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexible tip of the Runnels Total Control Introducer helps healthcare workers quickly and safely introduce the breathing tube into the trachea.

 “COVID-19 has changed our world. So much of the supply chain for PPE (personal protective equipment) and what we need to stay safe is unavailable and out of our control as providers,” said Sean Runnels M.D., founder and CEO of Through The Cords. “Intubation is the highest risk procedure we will perform on a COVID-19 infected patient — it is the procedure where the virus can contaminate us.”

The Runnels TCI is a novel articulating intubating stylet designed to increase first-pass breathing tube placement during video laryngoscopy-assisted intubations. The critical benefit of using the TCI on each intubation is the distance it allows between the patient and the provider during intubation while facilitating the successful introduction of the breathing tube. This feature preserves the viability of the provider population and the health care system through this pandemic and beyond by keeping providers safe from contamination.

Given the current resource-restricted healthcare system, swift, successful intubations result in better patient outcomes, less potential for provider exposure and reduced stress on the already over-taxed providers. 

“Getting this right is the difference between too many sick providers and the collapse of our medical system or survival,” Runnels said. “Providers are the system. The number one priority needs to be keeping them safe by any means possible as they step up to take care of patients despite the risk to themselves due to the lack of PPE.”