• Biosense Webster (Diamond Bar, California) reported study results that patients receiving cardiac ablation with the Navistar Thermocool Catheter were significantly more likely to be free of recurring AFib after initiation of treatment and experienced fewer serious adverse events than those receiving AAD therapy. In addition, patients receiving catheter ablation reported markedly fewer symptoms and substantially improved quality of life compared to those receiving AAD. Biosense Webster says the Thermocool catheter and the EZ Steer ThermoCool/NAV catheter are the only ablation catheters approved by the UFDA for the treatment of drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation when used with compatible three-dimensional electroanatomic mapping systems. The Navistar Thermocool catheter is also approved in the U.S. for the treatment of Type 1 atrial flutter, and recurrent drug/device refractory sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia due to prior myocardial infarction (heart attack), two types of cardiac arrhythmia.

• Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana) has introduced a new online destination from CookARTLab that is designed to improve laboratory and clinical performance in the field of assisted reproductive technology (A.R.T.). The Cook A.R.T. Lab tour shows real-world demonstrations of ovum collection, sperm injection, embryo culture and embryo transfer, with guidance on how to optimize each step for improved pregnancy rates. The microsite also features a knowledge base with up-to-the minute links to the most current published research in A.R.T.; a discussion forum that allows professionals to exchange information and experiences; and a news center posting upcoming industry events.

• Disc Motion Technologies (Boca Raton, Florida) reported the implantation of the Inlign MLH system, a posteriorly implanted multi-level hybrid system. The Inlign consists of a posteriorly implanted artificial disc and a motion preserving rod that provides motion at the level that has received the artificial disc and provides rigid stabilization for an adjacent level that received a posteriorly implanted fusion device.

• Fletcher-Flora Health Care Systems (Anaheim, California) reported the availability of FFlex eSuite ASP, which consists of the FFlex eSuite Laboratory Information System (LIS) solution in an Application Service Provider (ASP) model. The company says that this latest addition to its growing line of Web-based LIS products is ideal for clinical laboratories who want to bring the latest technology into their operation while maximizing a limited budget and eliminating the need for additional IT support staff. FFlex eSuite ASP uses a building-block design to offer a LIS solution to any size laboratory, from small clinics and group practices to the largest multi-facility reference laboratories.

• GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) and Varian (Palo Alto, California) report the availability of the Discovery MR901, a new pre-clinical 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system which provides new capabilities for research objectives. The Discovery MR901 combines GE Healthcare's diagnostic technology with Varian's scientific platform to provide a pre-clinical MRI system. The pre-clinical technology aims to excel in soft tissue contrast and non-invasive techniques, including those used in research for anatomy, metabolism, and physiology in research models.

• Masimo (Irvine, California) said that a new clinical study conducted in the emergency department at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital shows that the noninvasive measurement of carbon monoxide in the blood with Masimo Rainbow SET Pulse CO-Oximetry (SpCO) may help clinicians better assess acute asthma severity during and after treatment. A common challenge for children with asthma is the requirement of a forced expiratory test called spirometry. In contrast to spirometry, SpCO a noninvasive measurement easily obtained from Masimo Rainbow SET Pulse CO-Oximeters and sensors already used in many hospitals – does not require patient instruction or breathing effort. As a result, SpCO may help to improve the assessment of asthma severity and response to treatment in young children and patients who are unconscious, heavily sedated, unable to understand and follow instructions, or have limitations that would interfere with vigorous respiratory efforts.

• Mayer Laboratories (Berkeley, California) said that the Today Sponge has been re-launched in the U.S. The Today Sponge will be carried in 6,500 CVS/Longs drug stores in May and in 6,700 Walgreens and 200 Duane Reade locations in June. The Today Sponge is a soft polyurethane sponge containing nonoxynol 9, a spermicide used by millions of women for more than 40 years. The Today Sponge prevents pregnancy in 3 ways: 1) by blocking the sperm's path; 2) by absorbing the sperm; and 3) by continuously releasing nonoxynol 9, which quickly kills the sperm on contact.

• Osmetech (Pasadena, California) said it has submitted a request to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its Respiratory Pathogen Test Panel test to be used to screen for the swine flu virus. Osmetech's Respiratory Pathogen Test Panel test, which is expected to be launched as a research use only (RUO) product next quarter, detects and differentiates between 18 common bacterial and viral infections, including the Influenza A virus and its H1N1 subtype. Osmetech is currently developing an extension to the Respiratory Pathogen Test that will differentiate this H1N1 subtype between the human and swine forms of the virus.

• SynCardia (Tucson, Arizona) reported that study data showed the SynCardia temporary CardioWest Total Artificial Heart has a bridge-to-transplant rate of 72% at 6 months. The company says that unlike BiVADs and LVADs which assist the heart ventricle(s), the Total Artificial Heart replaces both dying heart ventricles. This eliminates complications caused by a dying heart, including right native heart failure.