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Medtronic Announces New, Improved Instrument to Lift and Hold the Beating Heart During CABG Surgery.

Business Editors & Health/Medical Writers

MINNEAPOLIS--(BW HealthWire)--May 6, 2002

Starfish(TM)2 Positioner Uses Suction to Give Surgeon

Easier Access to Target Arteries

There was a time when coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery was always a heart-stopping event. That era faded further into the past today as Medtronic, Inc., (NYSE:MDT) announced commercial release of new medical technology designed to make it easier and safer for surgeons to place grafts on the surface of the heart while it continues to beat.

The improved Medtronic Starfish(TM)2 heart positioner uses suction technology to gently lift and position the beating heart to expose coronary arteries on any of its surfaces. It then works in concert with the popular Medtronic Octopus(R)3 device, which holds a small area of cardiac surface tissue nearly stationary while the surgeon is suturing the bypass grafts to the arteries.

Surgery on the beating heart allows elimination of the external perfusion circuit - or "heart-lung machine" - which pumps and oxygenates the blood for the body if the heart must be stopped for repairs. This perfusion circuit has been the "gold standard" for more than 30 years. However, because of its complexity and potential risks, an increasing number of surgeons are opting to avoid it when possible. "Off-pump" surgery is now estimated to make up about 25 percent of the 350,000 CABG procedures that take place in the United States each year.

Improvements in the Starfish device are designed to increase flexibility in reaching all blood vessels on the surface of the heart while assuring visibility needed by the surgeon for proper revascularization. An added feature is a new in-line collection canister that simplifies setup for the operating-room staff.

"The new Starfish heart positioner constitutes an improvement in instrumentation to facilitate beating-heart techniques," said Dr. John Puskas, cardiac surgeon at Crawford Long Hospital of Emory University, Atlanta. "My initial experience with the instrument leads me to believe it will simplify the procedure and make it easier for both patient and surgeon."

Bob Guezuraga, president of Medtronic Cardiac Surgery, noted that each advancement in Medtronic instrumentation for beating-heart surgery potentially enlarges the patient group that can share its benefits, which include reduced hospitalization and fewer blood transfusions. "Medtronic intends to be fully responsive to the cardiac surgeon, continually improving tools and technologies for beating-heart procedures. We're confident that the improvements in Starfish2 will encourage more surgeons who have adopted a `wait and see' stance to adopt the techniques it supports."

The new Starfish2 heart positioner offers:

Secure, stable access to all coronary arteries. Using gentle suction, the Starfish enables the surgeon to expose any surface of the heart and position it for the optimal approach with minimal negative impact on the patient's hemodynamic condition. Its new swivel headlink and high-flow flexible tubing greatly increase positioning options while a newly designed turret gives the Starfish2 arm a 360-degree range of motion.

Easier, quicker setup. The tubing set supplied with Starfish2 incorporates an in-line fluid collection canister that minimizes the potential for vacuum leaks in the suction lines and simplifies setup by making it unnecessary for operating-room staff to provide and connect a canister.

Improved visibility. Downsized control components contribute to an overall reduced profile.

Medtronic Cardiac Surgery offers the world's most complete product portfolio to facilitate beating-heart surgery as well as conventional procedures using the external perfusion circuit. For more information about Medtronic Cardiac Surgery products, visit the Medtronic Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery website at

Medtronic, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. Its Internet address is

Any statements made about the company's anticipated financial results and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 27, 2001. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 6, 2002
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