Medical Device Daily Executive Editor

Kimberly-Clark Health Care (K-C; Roswell, Georgia) had a better idea when it came to solving some of the problems associated with the surgical placement of enteral feeding tubes.

Such tubes provide delivery of nutrition to patients requiring long-term nutritional support, often pediatric or elderly patients.

First the company introduced its MIC-KEY Introducer Kit, launched last summer, which facilitates the initial placement of balloon-retained feeding tubes. Then it added the wrinkle of using resorbable sutures in the placement of those tubes, eliminating the need for a second surgical procedure to remove the sutures.

Take it from Michael Miller, MD, an instructor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, North Carolina), who says the combination of the system itself and the resorbable sutures feature is a "tremendous advance."

Miller and Joshua Weintraub, MD, division chief of vascular and interventional surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center (New York), provided commentary during a Kimberly-Clark sponsored webcast that debuted earlier this week at the K-C booth on the exhibit floor at the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR; Alexandria, Virginia) annual meeting in San Diego.

The interactive webcast showed a live patient demonstration of a MIC-KEY procedure, and Miller and Weintraub later discussed the K-C introducer kit and technique with Medical Device Daily.

Noting that placement of such feeding tubes is a common procedure, Miller said that "a lot of physicians come to their own solution as to how to place them," meaning that numerous approaches are utilized.

"What Kimberly-Clark did," he said, "was to take all the really good things that a lot of people use and put them into one kit. They addressed all the placement issues we face in such procedures."

Miller said one of the best results of the new kit's availability is that a technologist on hand for procedures "now only has to open one kit, instead of 17."

Noting that such technologists normally open a bunch of instruments that may end up not being used in the procedure, he said that eliminating such waste is "just a tremendous improvement."

Beyond that is what the elimination of a second procedure means in terms of safety, as well as avoiding the risk of common complications from leaving sutures in place, including gastric perforation, skin infection and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Weintraub added that the MIC-KEY kit "really accomplishes three unique things":

— It addresses the safety issues with bioabsorbable sutures, "which has never been done before." Those sutures are absorbed in three to four weeks, which especially makes it easy for pediatric patients and their parents.

— The kit's new dilator "definitely improves our time" spent on performing such procedures.

— For the first time, "we are able to facilitate a MIC-KEY technique instead of a MIC-KEY system."

He added that parents of pediatric patients "usually are intimidated" by eneteral feeding tube setups, but "this really reassures them."

Weintraub said that all of his colleagues at Mt. Sinai are as sold on the K-C kit as he is. "We have completely switched over to it," he said. "It's the only such kit we use."

Asked what he had heard from colleagues at SIR in the aftermath of the initial presentation of the webcast. Miller said there certainly was "a buzz" about the kit and the procedure. "There was a pretty good crowd around the booth," he said, adding that "there were lots of questions and interest in the actual placement kit."

David Parks, general manager, North America medical devices for Kimberly-Clark Health Care, said of the company's packaging of the webcast in conjunction with OR-LIVE: "We recognize that physician-to-physician instruction is far more useful than sales reps going in" to make product presentations. "We saw the webcast as a way to reach into the physician community."

Noting that K-C believes in "delivering education in addition to products and solutions, Parks said this particular presentation "went very well."

The lunchtime crowd for the debut presentation of the webcast actually drew a crowd of attendees that "was spilling over into neighboring booths, which didn't make us too popular with those exhibitors," he said, somewhat ruefully.

Recognizing that not all potential users of its MIC-KEY kit were attending SIR, Parks said the company had done some broader publicizing of the webcast, and already had received some responses that it would be following up on.

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