For companies making annuloplasty bands, it can be a bit tough to distinguish what they are selling from all the other annuloplasty bands and rings on the market. But ATS Medical (Minneapolis), a company that recently reported FDA clearance of its ATS Simulus Adjustable Annuloplasty Band, says surgeons will want to choose the device for its "simple but elegant" design.

"The biggest problem in the ring market is that it's saturated . . . there are about 20 rings to choose from and they're all pretty much the same," Robyn Peterson, marketing director for repair products, told Medical Device Daily. But in general, she said, the Simulus brand itself is what makes this latest annuloplasty band unique.

According to ATS, the Simulus annuloplasty products were designed with the help of cardiac surgeons for implant ease.

Peterson said that the braided polyester construction allows for easy needle passage and it is non-compressible, so it does not stretch or crunch. Also, she said she has heard from physicians who have used the band who say it results in faster procedure times.

The new band is the next product in a portfolio of mitral valve repair products developed and commercialized through the company's partnership with Genesee BioMedical (Denver).

This band respects the natural motion of the mitral annulus and its proximity to the aortic valve allowing for a safe, physiologic valve repair, according to ATS. The design of the device allows the surgeon to make asymmetric or symmetric adjustments to the posterior segment of the mitral valve annulus at any time during the procedure, optimizing the repair. This product is also indicated for tricuspid valve repair, where a band is the preferred annuloplasty device, the company noted.

Annuloplasty rings and bands are used in those cases where repair of a patient's heart valve is preferable to replacement of the valve. The ATS Simulus Adjustable Band provides additional options for surgeons in terms of different exposures, double valve procedures and minimally invasive implants, according to ATS.

John Wright, PhD, CEO of Genesee BioMedical, has been involved in heart valves and valve repair therapy for more than 25 years. According to ATS, Wright's experience has contributed significantly to the "enormous growth" of the Simulus product line.

"Our valve repair business continues to grow and build momentum," said Michael Dale, president/CEO of ATS. "We have expanded our repair platform by adding offerings in the flexible and semi-rigid segments. The breadth of our portfolio will enable more choices for our surgeon customers to accommodate their clinical needs and that of their patients, thus bolstering our growth prospects."

ATS says it serves the cardiac surgery community by focusing on two distinct but operationally synergistic market segments: heart valve disease therapy and surgical ablation of cardiac arrhythmias.

The company was originally founded to develop the Open Pivot heart valve as a new mechanical heart valve standard of care. Today the Open Pivot heart valve is the preferred mechanical heart valve in many markets around the world and the fastest-growing mechanical prosthesis in the market, according to the company.