Several medical device companies are evaluating prototypes of an invention from two Sanford Health surgeons that could simplify stroke treatments. The investigational Slide Guide Catheter also may allow for the treatment of many more of the eligible 70,000 stroke patients in the U.S. every year.
The goal is to streamline the current bulky procedural setup with an ergonomic, simple system. That may allow more vascular specialists to perform the intervention to clear blockages from blood vessels in the brain. Potentially, it could reduce the chance of disability or death or reduce rehabilitation time.
The next step in the development of the technology will be to have a company license and test the Slide Guide Catheter.
From heart intervention to stroke innovation
Thomas Haldis, D.O., an interventional cardiologist and medical director of the cardiac lab at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, is one of the inventors.
Dr. Haldis said he helped develop the device because there is a lot of similarity in the techniques used between heart surgery and treating strokes.
“I started working with Sanford Health neurosurgeon Alexander Drofa, M.D., on stroke intervention. It turned out to be a really complex procedure because of equipment needed. The more I would perform the procedure, the more I would think, ‘There must be a simpler way.’ I began brainstorming how those catheters could be turned into a simpler system,” Dr. Haldis said.
“I also noticed the tools — while cutting edge — they seemed imperfect and incomplete. From there, Dr. Drofa and I created the Slide Guide Catheter.”
The investigational device combines two interventional catheters: a guide catheter to navigate near the occlusion, or blockage, and an intermediate catheter capable of suctioning out clots or deploying interventional devices such as a stentriever.
The current approach to repairing strokes requires the use of both of them with a bulky setup for the interventionalist. But the Slide Guide Catheter is intended to combine both in a system specifically designed for navigating challenging anatomy.
That creates several potential benefits over the status quo:
- Less complexity in setup for an acute stroke repair
- Fewer devices needed on the catheterization lab table
- Reduced lab time
The future of interventional stroke care
The Slide Guide Catheter builds on current tools used during a stroke intervention procedure. The device fits into one hand and allows the surgeon to push a clot-busting wire into the blood vessel by turning a thumbwheel.
The innovation would allow surgeons to use fewer devices, while making the surgical process more approachable and less cumbersome.
“The slide guide has the potential to speed up the procedure and may make it safer. Because it is simpler, we hope to open it up to other specialists,” Dr. Haldis said.
Typically, neurosurgeons are the only doctors who perform interventional stroke interventions. The issue is that there are about 500 of them in the U.S. and nearly 70,000 blood vessel blockages that would qualify for the procedure.
The Slide Guide Catheter may allow more interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons and other specialists to repair many of those untreated strokes.
“Right now, there are not enough interventional neurosurgeons for the number of patients who need a stroke intervention procedure,” Dr. Haldis said. “But, as interventional cardiologists, we can learn how to perform these procedures.
“If we can streamline the process with the Slide Guide Catheter and other innovations currently in development, other doctors may be able to step in to help patients in need across the U.S.”
Sanford Health values the ideas and problem-solving ability of its physicians, researchers, clinical workers and support staff. Any employee with an idea for a device, therapy, software, tool or other method that helps patients is encouraged to contact the commercialization team and join the dozens of people at Sanford Health who are already inventing.
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