The end is in sight for what is probably the last non-digital device in the doctor’s black bag — the sphygmomanometer, the device for taking blood pressure. Similarly, the medical lab’s venerable optical microscope is under threat from a new scanning device.

Other devices reported recently:

  • An implantable drug dispensercontrolled externally by wireless signals has worked in dogs and is about five years from human trials.
  • An aortic valvesaid to last longer than existing replacement tissue or mechanical valves could be approved in the US within a year — almost nine years after it was approved in Europe.
  • A very realistic birthing simulatoris on the market and in growing use.
  • A Canadian device called VELScope uses a blue light to find cancerous cells in the mouth.

Digital Sphygmomanometer

Source article

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a wristband that non-invasively monitors blood pressure. It could replace the traditional inflatable sphygmomanometer gauge and cuff. Called Primo , the device provides digital readouts of pulse, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure in about 12 seconds, compared to as much as two minutes with the cuff. Primo sells for under US$1,000, compared with up to $3,000 for a traditional sphygmomanometer.

Digital Microscope

Source article

A scanner developed by Aperio Technologies creates computerized images from tissue samples mounted on microscope slides, eliminating the need for the optical microscope. It takes three to five minutes to create a 1 to 5 gigabyte image with 20X magnification.

Aperio says it has sold 120 scanners costing from US$40,000 to roughly $200,000 each in 15 countries

Implantable Drug Dispenser

Source article

A US start-up company with investment support from medical device heavyweights Boston Scientific and Medtronic has demonstrated an implantable continuous-release drug dispenser in dogs. The technology can also be used to activate implanted biosensors.

The device is activated after implant by a wireless signal that generates an electric current. It is about five years away from human testing.

Aortic Valve Replacement

Source: Terri Yablonsky Stat, “New heart valve option.” Chicago Tribune, April 25, 2006, page 6.

Early results from a US Food and Drug Administration-sponsored clinical trial of Shelhigh’s SuperStentless Plus aortic valve replacement suggest that it may last longer than currently available tissue valves and mechanical valves

The valve, made from cow pericardium and pig leaflets, has been approved in Europe since 1997. An official at the hospital conducting the US trial told the Chicago Tribune: “no child or adult over age 80 has demonstrated tissue failure with the valve” and that the “evidence is very strong that in an older person, the likelihood of valve deterioration is very low.”

The device can be implanted minimally invasively, therefore patients recover more quickly than those receiving conventional replacements requiring open surgery. FDA approval is likely within a year.

Birthing Simulator

Source article

A lifelike, “pregnant,” robotic mannequin called Noelle is being used in increasing numbers of US medical schools and hospital maternity wards, including most of Kaiser’s 30 hospitals nationwide, reports Paul Elias for the Associated Press. The Northwest Physicians Insurance Co. is sponsoring their use in 22 hospitals in Oregon and Idaho.

Noelle models range from a $3,200 basic version to a $20,000 computerized Noelle that best approximates a live birth. As Elias describes “her”: “She can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation. She can labor for hours and produce a breach baby or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes.” She can have twin baby mannequins, which can can change color “from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency” and have vital signs that can be read by monitors. They have realistic pulses and can urinate, breathe, and bleed.

During training, a technician can override the mannequin’s program to insert all sorts of complications, such as a sudden increase in heart rate, or the appearance of an umbilical cord.

Oral Cancer Torch Detector

Source article

A sort-of flashlight emitting blue light has successfully distinguished oral cancer from benign sores. The light excites molecules within cells, causing them to fluoresce. Under the blue light, cancerous cells appear dark green to black while normal cells appear pale green.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *