• 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.

• NovaVision (Boca Raton, Florida) said researchers at the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society meeting in Tucson, Arizona, reported positive results from studies of stroke and brain trauma patients seeking reduction in their vision impairment with NovaVision VRTT Vision Rest!oration TherapyT (VRT). The company said VRT is the first and only FDA-cleared therapy to improve visual field deficits caused by stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). “These studies provide further evidence to support clinical applications of neuroplasticity like VRT. It was previously believed visual field loss in stroke and TBI patients could not be improved, but clinical data on the efficacy of VRT continue to prove the contrary,“ said NovaVision President and CEO Navroze Mehta.

OSI Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer (both New York) reported that the systemic safety profile of Macugen (pegap- tanib sodium injection), already established in data from the first year of the VISION trials, was maintained over two years of treatment with no evidence of an association with hypertension, serious hemorrhagic events or thromboembolic events, as compared to the control group. Macugen was approved in late 2004 for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

• Pall (East Hills, New York) reported the European launch of the first tap filter that reduces patient exposure to waterborne pathogens for up to 14 days. The new Pall-Aquasafe AQ14F1S filter doubles the duration of protection by providing an effective barrier from harmful microorganisms, including Legionella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, protozoa and fungal spores. It gives healthcare facilities the ability to reduce patient exposure to waterborne pathogens for twice the length of time while also reducing handling, waste and costs of seven-day filters. The filter's 14-day efficacy is a result of a proprietary advanced membrane technology that provides higher throughput for even better flow and more resilience to blockage. Its bacteriostatic additive throughout the polymer housing decreases the risk of retrograde contamination both inside and outside the filter.

• 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.

• Zynex Medical Holdings (Littleton, Colorado), a pro-vider of pain management systems and electrotherapy products for patients with functional disability, reported that stroke victims who took part in an independent published clinical study were able to participate in a specialized physical therapy program after being treated with the company's NeuroMove Stroke Recovery System. The NeuroMove System increases the functionality of many stroke victims by teaching the healthy parts of the brain to compensate for damaged areas. The results of the study were published in the January edition of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The study found that after using the Neuro-Move for a short period of time, patients who were unable to use their wrist or fingers regained enough movement to progress to the next level of therapy. The NeuroMove System provided the patients the ability to undergo modified constraint induced therapy, a form of physical therapy, where they continued to make progress in their recovery, the company said.