• Cardiac Science (Bothell, Washington), a manufacturer of advanced cardiac monitoring and defibrillation products sold under the Quinton, Powerheart and Burdick brands, said new research for assessing a patient's risk of cardiovascular death would be presented during this week's American College of Cardiology meeting in Atlanta. The research involves new methods for analyzing cardiac stress testing data, and will include presentations such as "New Advances in Exercise Physiology and Testing" and "Can Exercise Induced Heart Rate Variability Spectral Slopes Provide Insights Into Autonomic Activity and Prognosis?"

• Dade Behring (Deerfield, Illinois) reported that it has launched the Viva-Jr Drug Testing System for the criminal justice and low-volume clinical laboratories. Viva-Jr is designed to use the company's Syva-brand EMIT test reagents, which it said is the most widely used and extensively validated in the industry. The Viva-Jr system is a small counter-top analyzer with a broad menu of Syva's EMIT drugs-of-abuse tests and multiple timesaving operator benefits, and is the only analyzer of its size that has features found in mid- and high-volume drug testing analyzers. The Viva-Jr Drug Testing System is manufactured by Vital Scientific NV, a subsidiary of Clinical Data. Dade Behring is the sole distributor of the instrument.

• Epix Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a developer of pharmaceuticals for MRI, reported that the 52nd and final patient has been enrolled in the company's Phase IIa study of its thrombus-imaging agent, EP-2104R. The study included six cohorts of patients, all of which enrolled at least eight patients. The company said it has been working on a study report to submit to Schering (Berlin), which has an option to license the EP-2104R program from EPIX.

• Medtronic (Minneapolis) reported the addition of OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring trend data available via the Medtronic CareLink Network. OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring, which measures changes in impedance in the thoracic cavity, is a feature found on the InSync Sentry cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillator. Using low electrical pulses that travel across the thoracic cavity, the system can measure the level of resistance to the electrical pulses, which indicates the level of fluid in the chest. Since normal fluid levels may vary from patient to patient and fluid accumulation can be either slow or rapid, OptiVol's ability to measure fluid status trends over time can provide insights that are used in conjunction with ongoing monitoring of other patient symptoms. The company recently received FDA approval to provide this fluid trend data to physicians monitoring their patients via the Medtronic CareLink Network.

• Merit Medical Systems (South Jordan, Utah), a manufacturer of disposable accessories used primarily in cardiology and radiology procedures, reported the full market release of a new stiffened dilator mini access kit, the S-MAK. The Merit S-MAK is a patent-pending device with tip transitions that improve a physician's ability to gain vascular access, while facilitating smooth entry into the vessel. The S-MAK's stiffened dilator provides additional support during placement through scar tissue and/or difficult anatomy.

• Point Biomedical (San Carlos, California), a developer of products for diagnostic, molecular imaging and drug delivery applications based on its biSphere technology, reported that the new drug application for CARDIOsphere (PB127) has been accepted for review by the FDA. CARDIOsphere is a myocardial perfusion agent used with ultrasound imaging. Point is seeking approval to market CARDIOsphere for the detection and localization of obstructive coronary artery disease. If approved in the U.S., the company said CARDIOsphere would allow cardiologists to diagnose coronary artery disease in the office or hospital using standard ultrasound equipment and without the need for radioactive isotopes.

• Tensys Medical (San Diego) said a new study published in the February issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia shows that the non-invasive Tensys T-line provides continuous beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP) measurement with comparable accuracy to that of an invasive radial arterial catheter (A-line). Researchers evaluated the T-line device in the operating room with patients undergoing general anesthesia. Systolic, diastolic and mean BP's were compared from the T-line and the contra-lateral A-line. The mean errors reported were 1.7 +/- 7.0 for systolic, 2.3 +/- 6.9 for diastolic and 1.7 +/- 5.3 for mean. The non-invasive arterial waveforms produced from the T-line emulated those of the contra-lateral arterial catheters. The researchers concluded that the T-line provides an accurate non-invasive alternative for beat-to-beat blood pressure management.

• Vidar Systems (Herndon, Virginia), a provider of medical imaging technology, unveiled its new Vidar Vision Digital Radiography (DR) product line of full-featured, affordable DR systems designed for all radiography environments. The systems were presented at the recent 2006 European Congress of Radiology meeting in Vienna, Austria. The Vidar Vision 4000 – featuring a 4K detector for higher- resolution imaging needs – is designed for high-volume imaging centers, orthopedic practices and hospitals, while the Vidar Vision 2000, with a 2K detector, is ideal for lower volume office-based use. Vidar Vision systems display images in 10 seconds or less, resulting in faster visualization and streamlined treatment for improved patient care.

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