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VasoStar helping surgeons "tap" through deadly occlusions

The manual “tapping” of surgeons, intent on breaking through life-threatening occlusions, could soon be replaced by vibrating tip guidewires, says Stephanie Harrington, chief operating officer of VasoStar Inc. The company, a subsidiary of Frantz Medical Group in Mentor, is collaborating with Cleveland Clinic and Interplex Medical LLC of Milford, on the plaque-busting technology.

The company was formed in 2007 to “develop technology invented in Israel and brought to us through one of our clinician colleagues at Stanford University,” says Harrington. The vibrating guidewires let cardiologists open up totally blocked arteries much faster than the current manual method.

Lesions that have been there for some time, called chronic total occlusions, become calcified and very difficult to penetrate with a tiny guidewire only .014 in. diameter. Currently, the clinician is about 300 cm away from the lesion, outside of the patient’s leg, gently tapping to force the guidewire through the calcified surface.

“What we’ve done is increase the speed of the tapping and move that tapping source up near the point of the lesion,” says Harrington. The power source, a tiny electromagnetic engine, creates a high-frequency vibration. “This will allow patients with CTOs to be treated with interventional techniques versus invasive bypass surgery.”

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which supports the commercialization of products in the biomedical, medical imaging and sensors industries, recently awarded VasoStar $1 million to help develop the technology, which is still in the product-development stage. Harrington said clinical trials should start in about 18 months. The company employs four “fulltime equivalents” on loan from Frantz Medical and Harrington expects to add 12 to 15 positions over the next two years.  

Source: Stephanie A. S. Harrington, Frantz Medical Development Ltd.
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney
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