Results from a six-month economic analysis comparing the cost of off-pump, "beating heart" coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures with the cost of traditional on-pump CABG surgery showed that beating-heart CABG saved $1,684 per procedure compared to traditional bypass surgery. These costs included the cost of the C-Port Distal Anastomosis Systems from Cardica (Redwood City, California), used in the beating-heart cases.

The study, sponsored by Cardica, was conducted by Genesis Medical Center (Davenport, Iowa).

"With the C-Port systems we can reliably connect the graft vessels without stopping the heart, which improves patient outcomes, reduces costs and increases the pool of patients eligible for bypass surgery," said Nicholas Augelli, MD, cardiovascular surgeon at Genesis.

He added: "Before this study, the vast majority of CABG procedures at Genesis were performed on-pump. We have dramatically changed our practice after this study due to both the significant benefits to patients and reduced costs of beating-heart CABG surgeries, and we are able to perform more beating-heart procedures by using the C-Port system."

Genesis conducted the economic analysis of cases, from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2007, to compare the costs of traditional on-pump to off-pump CABG using the C-Port systems and other ancillary products. Augelli and Robert Fietsam, MD, performed 78 off-pump procedures during the study period, resulting in total savings of $131,352.

In addition to operating room time savings of about two hours with beating-heart surgery, the study showed that the cost of beating heart procedures, which included the cost of the C-Port systems, were $14,905 vs. $16,589 for on-pump "arrested heart" surgery without use of the C-Port. The average cost savings for beating-heart procedures with the use of the C-Port systems was $1,684 per procedure over traditional bypass surgery without the C-Port.

"This cost analysis, coupled with our excellent patency results, exemplifies the value of our C-Port systems to the patient, the physician and the hospital," said Bernard Hausen, MD, PhD, president/CEO of Cardica. "We believe the C-Port systems, which facilitate less-invasive bypass procedures like beating-heart CABG, have the potential to revolutionize the field of cardiothoracic surgery in the same way the sewing machine automated hand-stitching."

Cardica's C-Port systems are designed to enable automated and reproducible connections of blood vessels during CABG. Unlike most hand-sewn anastomoses, Cardica said its C-Port systems create compliant anastomoses that can expand and contract with blood flow.

The company said the C-Port systems also offer surgeons "unique access to a wide range of coronary arteries, particularly small coronary arteries on which, in the past, CABG procedures have been very difficult or impossible to perform."

By replacing hand-sewn sutures with automated systems, Cardica said its products provide cardiovascular surgeons with "rapid, reliable and consistently reproducible anastomoses, or connections of blood vessels, often considered the most critical aspect of the CABG procedure."

The C-Port systems are marketed in Europe and the U.S., while the PAS-Port Proximal Anastomosis System is marketed in Europe and Japan and is being evaluated in a pivotal trial in the U.S. and Europe.

Cardica said it also is jointly developing other devices with Cook (Bloomington, Indiana) to facilitate vascular closure and other surgical procedures.