A Medical Device Daily

AGA Medical (Minneapolis) reported that it has received CE mark approval for its Amplatzer vascular plug, AVP 4. The device, which is indicated for arterial and venous embolizations in the peripheral vasculature, uses Amplatzer's mesh-braided nitinol technology and may eliminate the need for catheter exchange, giving physicians a more efficient procedure. AGA Medical will begin marketing the AVP 4 in Europe immediately, it said

"The AVP 4 is a major technological advancement in the AMPLATZER vascular plug family and receiving CE Mark approval validates this achievement," said John Barr, president/CEO of AGA.

With its low profile, the AVP 4 allows delivery through a standard 0.038 diagnostic catheter. The physician can now choose to use one AVP 4 instead of what often becomes multiple coil implants – without factoring in the need for a catheter exchange.

"Our physician customers requested a lower-profile option and we delivered, exceeding their expectations with the AVP 4," Barr explained. "The AVP 4 complements our other vascular plugs, providing physicians with advanced tools to treat vascular conditions, which have the potential to reduce procedure times while offering improved flexibility and cost effectiveness."

The AVP 4 is a single-device solution for peripheral embolization, the practice of reducing or eliminating blood flow to an area of the body by blocking – or occluding – a blood vessel to treat a wide range of circulatory and internal organ diseases. The lower-profile AVP 4 extends the reach of the Amplatzer vascular plug family to smaller and often more distal vasculature. The device's multi-layered, double-lobed design provides rapid embolization. Additionally, the flexible mesh and floppy distal section of the delivery wire facilitates easy tracking through torturous anatomy, the company said.

Belgium to require inactivation of platelets

Cerus (Concord, California) reported that Belgium has issued a Royal Decree mandating universal use of pathogen inactivation for platelets. Under the terms of the decree, Belgian blood centers are required to fully implement use of pathogen inactivation no later than August 2010. A Ministerial Decree was issued on the same day, establishing specific reimbursement for pathogen inactivated platelet products, effective immediately. The government's decision is consistent with a 2008 recommendation from the Belgian High Council of Health advocating treatment of platelets to reduce the routine risk of transfusion-transmitted infections, as well as safeguarding the platelet supply in the event of pandemic influenza.

Cerus said its Intercept blood system has been used in Belgium since 2003 for treatment of platelets, and since 2007 for treatment of plasma. It is currently used by blood centers in Yvoir, Brugge, Charleroi, Brabant-Hainaut, Li ge, and Namur, and also by the Belgian Army blood service, representing about 40% of the platelets collected in Belgium.

Euro RSCG Life buys Medicom

Euro RSCG Life (London), a fully integrated global health marketing and communications group, reported the acquisition of Medicom Group (West London), a medical communication agency.

"I am delighted to welcome Medicom Group into the Euro RSCG Worldwide network," said Michel Nakache, Euro RSCG Life Worldwide Managing Partner, upon announcing the acquisition. "This will enhance our offering for our clients and prospects in medical communications and market access at both the global and European levels. Because our strategy has been based on the creation of one single brand, Medicom Group becomes Euro RSCG Life Medicom."

Medicom integrates medical communications across the healthcare arena to provide ommunication solutions, Medicom's experience spans numerous disease areas and ranges from pre-launch creative concepts and marketing plan development to post-launch communications.

GE to reduce hospital environmental impact

GE (Fairfield, Connecticut) and Asklepios Hospital Group (Hamburg, Germany) signed an agreement to create their first project in German healthcare to comprehensively address environmental issues. The renovation and expansion of one of the hospitals owned by Asklepios in Hamburg, Germany, known as the "Green Hospital" project, will be their pilot hospital in Europe entirely planned and designed on ecological principles.

The Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg is particularly well-suited for the "Green Hospital" project. The energy efficiency principles will be employed both in the conversion of existing buildings and the construction of new facilities. Finalization of the project is planned for 2013.

"A well-preserved environment is essential for good health. By working with our customers and partners in the conception and design of healthcare facilities, we aim to reduce energy usage, conserve water, generate renewable energy onsite, maintain air quality, reduce waste, increase staff productivity and improve patient satisfaction," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said at the signing ceremony of the cooperation agreement, which took place as part of the celebrations to mark the 5-year anniversary of GE's Global Research Center (GRC) in Germany.

Achieving the goal to complete this project requires a multi-layered implementation concept. GE will provide the necessary innovative solutions from its different business units and supply Asklepios with concepts for building and operating hospitals, optimizing the efficiencies of the design.