Wire Keeper: A device that can make retained guidewires during central line placement into a “never event”

Value Proposition

The Seldinger technique is standard for placing catheters over guidewires in approximately 5 million central line procedures every year in the United States. Guidewires unintentionally remain in the patient after an estimated 1 out of every 3,291 central line procedures, with a 20% mortality rate. There is currently no specific strategy to prevent guidewire loss, representing an unmet need for simple solutions that are immune to human error.


Inventors at Duke have reported a simple, inexpensive clip that attaches to the end of guidewires to completely prevent their accidental retention. The seriousness of the potential complications, and the effectiveness of this solution warrants its addition to all surgical trays for guidewire procedures, particularly those involving the widely used Seldinger technique. The clip works by physically preventing slippage of the guidewire inside the catheter. Our own Duke Heart Center performs the most heart and lung transplants in the country, and is therefore very familiar with this unmet need. They are quickly moving forward with implementing use of an equivalent device into standard protocol, and soon all heart surgeries at Duke will be evaluating its effectiveness.


  • Properly used, limits the potential for human error, turning accidental guide wire retention into a "never event" – a highly sought after target for quality and safety programs

  • A simple, inexpensive clip

  • Basic principle widely relevant to other procedures utilizing Seldinger-based catheter placement that involve the potential for guidewire loss, for example accessing the bladder or abdominal cavity

Nurse prepares venous catheters of long duration

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Waldron, Nathan
  • Stafford-Smith, Mark
  • Swaminathan, Madhav
  • Taicher, Brad

For more information please contact


School of Medicine (SOM)