• ATS Medical (Minneapolis) reported that longer-term clinical performance of the ATS Open Pivot heart valve was profiled in a comparative scientific paper entitled "Single-Center Outcome Analysis of 1,161 Patients with St. Jude Medical and ATS Open Pivot Mechanical Heart Valves". The paper was published in the Journal of Heart Valve Disease. The study reviewed and compared 601 open pivot valves and 604 St. Jude Medical valves implanted beginning in 1993. In the aortic group only, the authors reported significant improvement in actuarial survival at 10 years for those who received ATS (80%) compared to SJM (64%) leading them to conclude, "Based on the present results, it can be assumed that ATS valves would yield a better outcome in the aortic position.

ATS Medical makes products focused on cardiac surgery.

• Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) reported improvements to the SOMATOM Emotion. It produces detailed, high-quality images with a slice thickness as small as 0.5 mm and with accelerated image reconstruction times. The product uses CARE Dose4D software to lower the radiation dose as much as clinically possible. The integrated software reduces radiation exposure by as much as 66%, compared to conventional CT scanning. Siemens Medical Solutions combines innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting, and support services.

• Stereotaxis (St. Louis) reported that its partnered magnetically enabled 8 mm ablation catheter has received FDA approval and will soon be commercially available in the U.S. The 8 mm catheter expands electrophysiology applications for the Stereotaxis magnetic navigation system by providing physicians the ability to deliver high power ablations for the treatment of atrial arrhythmias. Atrial flutter, a common atrial arrhythmia estimated to represent 25% of the over 400,000 ablation procedures performed worldwide each year, is routinely treated with 8 mm catheters. Stereotaxis makes cardiology instrument control systems for use in a hospital's interventional surgical suite to enhance the treatment of coronary artery disease and arrhythmias.

• USGI Medical (San Clemente, California) reported the use of its technology in the first US natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) procedure at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (New York). Doctors successfully performed a transvaginal cholecystectomy with limited laparoscopic assistance as part of a larger IRB approved study. Incisionless EndoSurgery is considered the next frontier in minimally invasive surgery and has captured the interest of GI surgeons and endoscopists for a variety of surgical applications. The transvaginal surgical approach enables access to the abdominal cavity with minimal or no external incisions or scars. In this first procedure, only three tiny laparoscopic incisions were made as compared to the customary four substantially larger incisions needed for a traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy. USGI has focused on treating gastrointestinal diseases using only the natural passageways of the body (e.g. the patient's mouth) for access.

• VivoMetrics (Ventura, California) reported the launch of the next phase of its LifeShirt technology for use in preclinical research. The product, now named the LifeShirt preclinical system, has been further refined to meet the needs of researchers and scientific study requirements. The enhancements include: new wireless telemetry capabilities that will provide researchers with more efficient, non-invasive, real-time data monitoring; a reduction in size and weight by almost two-thirds of the previous system for improved wearability; an increase in ECG resolution from 200 Hz to 1 KHz; and additional connectivity with standard industry data management systems. The system uses a lightweight sensor module that fits into a jacket pocket. The module measures body position and activity while also acquiring and delivering real-time ECG and respiration data to a base station antenna either in a portable cart for multiple animals or attached to a computer. VivoMetrics makes non-invasive products and services which continuously monitor vital, life-sign functions, such as heart rate, respiration rate, posture, activity and skin temperature.