Product Spotlight

By Steve Barrett
Monday, January 30, 2017

Image courtesy of Level EX

Airway EX Mobile App

A new 3-D virtual surgery app by technology company Level EX draws on the knowledge of leading surgeons and video game developers to help physicians sharpen their minimally invasive surgical skills for procedures involving the airway.

Critical care specialists, otolaryngologists, emergency medicine physicians, anesthesiologists and pulmonologists will find the free Airway EX app useful, according to the company.

The technology simulates endoscopic device optics, the dynamics of human tissue and the movement of fluids accurately to generate lifelike surgeries. Actual surgeries submitted by physicians serve as models for virtual patient cases. Level EX helps physicians prepare for seldom-seen or unexpected occurrences during surgery, according to Sam Glassenberg, CEO and Founder of the Chicago-based company.

“[T]he video game industry is at least a decade ahead of medical simulation when it comes to technology, distribution and business models,” Glassenberg says.

Almost one in five U.S. physicians has used virtual reality professionally, according to a 2016 study by information technology company Decision Resources Group.

Image courtesy of BioTrace Medical

Tempo Lead

San Carlos, California-based BioTrace Medical has gained FDA clearance for a temporary pacing lead for use in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or other procedures that make temporary pacing necessary.

Tempo Lead produces stable, secure cardiac pacing through use of an innovative active fixation mechanism, a soft tip and bipolar electrodes, according to the company, and it promotes earlier ambulation by patients and reduced complications.

Conventional leads can easily become dislodged from the heart, possibly causing a loss of pacing. That frequently restricts patients to bed rest for the length of time during which they have temporary pacing lead placement, which can lengthen ICU stays. Conventional technologies also can perforate the heart wall, leading to cardiac compression. Tempo Lead’s fixation mechanism and soft tip reduce those possibilities.

Nearly 400,000 procedures annually require the use of temporary leads, the company states in a news release.

Image courtesy of BIOTRONIK

Inventra HF-T

An especially potent implantable cardioverter defibrillator has arrived in the United States.

On the first shock, Berlin-based BIOTRONIK’s Inventra HF-T, a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D), delivers 42 joules (J), according to the company.

The device is designed for patients who experience heart failure.

“For an increasing number of patients — specifically those with larger cardiac anatomy and lower ejection fraction — a shock that is higher than the standard 36–37 J may be needed to convert irregular arrhythmia,” Mark Mascarenhas, MD, electrophysiologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, says in a news release about Inventra HF-T. “The sooner an effective shock can be delivered, the likelihood of survival increases for these patients.”

He notes that a CRT-D that delivers a higher initial level of energy is more likely to convert irregular arrhythmias.