A Medical Device Daily

Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) has unveiled a series of portable, compact patient monitors that provides a reliable, yet affordable means to observe and care for patients.

Now available to healthcare providers in India, the new Philips SureSigns VM3 is the first Philips patient monitor designed for emerging markets.

"The SureSigns VM3 leverages the high-quality platform of Philips' industry leading patient monitoring portfolio," said Anjan Bose, Philips Healthcare India (Hyderabad) senior director and business head for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

He added, "Combining advanced software and technology in a compact economical package, the VM3 is the perfect solution for caregivers across the wide variety of clinical environments we see here in India."

Philips noted that with a growing per-capita income and adoption of new lifestyles, healthcare services in India are rapidly changing. "In order to meet the increasing demand for quality care, people in urban areas have seen the construction of new, state-of-the-art hospitals and associated satellite facilities, while others are increasingly seeking care at smaller nursing homes and clinics," the company said.

This has fueled the demand for healthcare equipment across various segments and the growth of the Indian patient monitoring equipment market is estimated to reach $42 million in 2010, the company said.

Philips noted that it aims at garnering a 40% share of the market by 2010 through its diverse range of patient monitoring equipment. With access to more affordable patient monitoring equipment, it said clinicians will have the ability to observe a patient's vital signs and make more informed, timely decisions about patient care.

The Philips SureSigns VM3 offers ECG, respiration and pulse oximetry in a compact monitor that helps provide quality care in almost any clinical setting, according to the company. It offers vital signs measurement and monitoring in an easy-to-use system that can be used in various departments throughout the hospital, nursing homes, private practices and rural clinics, as well as ambulances and mobile facilities.

ExAblate trial under way in U.S.

InSightec (Tirat Carmel, Israel) reported that the first U.S. patient has been treated in the company's pivotal trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the non-invasive, radiation-free ExAblate magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) system as a pain-relieving treatment for patients with bone metastases who have failed an initial round of palliative radiation.

The ExAblate system was approved to treat women suffering from symptomatic uterine fibroids in 2004. More than 4,000 women have undergone treatment with ExAblate worldwide.

"Pain from tumors that have spread to the bone is the most common kind of pain for cancer patients," said InSightec President/CEO Dr. Kobi Vortman. "Many patients are too weak to withstand invasive procedures to quell their pain if it persists or recurs after palliative radiation."

He added, "We look forward to advancing the trial in hopes that ExAblate may provide a non-invasive, ionized radiation-free means to improve the quality of life of late-stage cancer patients."

The company noted that bone is the third-most-common tissue to which cancer spreads, after the lungs and liver. Almost all patients with metastatic prostate cancer have skeletal metastases and in breast cancer, bone is the second-most-common site of metastatic spread, affecting 90% of patients with progressive breast cancer.

InSightec noted that most cancer patients suffer from pain, so controlling it and managing its symptoms are important treatment goals.

Using the ExAblate system, a physician uses MRI to visualize the patient's anatomy and then aims focused ultrasound waves at the targeted tissue to thermally ablate, or destroy it. The MRI allows the physician to monitor and continuously adjust the treatment in real time.

The company noted that due to the high acoustic absorption and low thermal conductivity of the bone cortex, it is possible to use a low level of energy and still achieve a localized heating effect while minimizing damage to adjacent tissue.

InSightec said it hopes to enroll patients with bone metastases who have failed palliative radiation therapy into the study, which is being conducted at 15 sites across the U.S. among them Brigham & Women's Hospital (Boston), Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia), Methodist Hospital (Houston), University of California, San Diego Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College (New York).

The company is in the process of obtaining institutional review board approval from the remaining sites.

The ExAblate 2000 system received CE-mark certification for pain palliation of bone metastases in June.

Australian team in CardioWest training

A cardiac transplant team from St. Vincent's Hospital (Sydney, Australia) was in Paris recently for the first phase of certification training for SynCardia's (Tucson, Arizona) CardioWest total artificial heart.

The group is led by Philip Spratt, MD, director of the cardiopulmonary transplant and cardiothoracic unit, and cardiothoracic and transplant surgeon Paul Jansz, MD.

"We are [pleased] to be the first hospital in Australia," said Jansz. "As the future CardioWest training center for the Asia-Pacific region, we look forward to expanding the use of this life-saving technology at our hospital and other top transplant hospitals in Australia and New Zealand."

During the training, SynCardia will hold a roundtable discussion with its leading international proctors, including well-known cardiothoracic surgeon Jack Copeland, MD, who since the mid-1980s has pioneered innovations for the CardioWest artificial heart. Copeland will be joined by Professor Daniel Duveau, medical director at University Hospital of Nantes in France, and Drs. Michiel Morshuis, Sebastian Schulte-Eistrup and Latif Arusoglu, senior physicians at the Heart and Diabetes Center NRW (Bad Oeynhausen, Germany).

Also attending the training will be representatives from Device Technologies, SynCardia's regional distributor for the CardioWest artificial heart. Device Technologies is the supplier for more than 70 companies specializing in medical and surgical devices used by public and private healthcare providers in the Australia/New Zealand region.