Intratracheal Valve device for intractable aspiration: ITV

Year of award: 2021


  • Prof Martin Birchall

    University College London, United Kingdom

Project summary

The larynx is principally a sphincter that prevents food, drink and saliva passing onto the lungs. Common neuromuscular and mechanical disturbances of laryngeal function lead to problems managing secretions, food and drink, causing recurrent pneumonia by “aspiration”. 30% of persons with stroke develop aspiration, and it is the commonest cause of death in throat cancer survivors and those with neuromuscular diseases, including motor neurone and Parkinson’s diseases. We aim to transform the lives of those losing laryngeal sphincter function, by combining the cutting-edge technologies of bioengineering and soft robotics, to create an implantable Intra-Tracheal Valve (ITV). The ITV will enable safe swallowing through intelligent airway protection.  Our team partners leading surgeons, engineers and scientists with patients, regulatory and business experts.  We combine our implantable sphincter-like valve device and electrical biosensing systems, capable of accurately detecting swallowing, with our biomaterials and clinical expertise to deliver a unique prototype ITV device.