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Sorenson Medical's ambIT pain pumps: helping to tame the pain.

WHAT DO A WOUNDED SOLDIER ON A BATTLEFIELD IN IRAQ and an injured Florida athlete have in common? Both have experienced improved pain relief thanks to West Jordan-based Sorenson Medical's innovative ambulatory drug infusion pumps, designed to deliver precise amounts of medication such as anesthetics, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.

Sorenson's patented microchip-enabled ambIT pumps are a line of small, portable, lightweight infusion devices designed to deliver medication, like pain-blocking anesthetics, to specific nerves or surgical sites. These pumps make it possible for a physician to immediately treat the wound and deliver anesthesia to a limb-specific nerve, blocking pain signals to the brain. So the soldier with a shrapnel-ravaged leg can experience instant pain relief on the battlefield once a catheter is inserted and the ambIT begins to infuse local anesthetic--and the pump continues to work during patient transport, and throughout care and recovery. Patients are able to leave the hospital setting and go about their lives with the lightweight, battery-operated ambIT pump carried in a convenient belt pack. So an athlete recovering from a site-specific surgery can go home and begin to resume his or her normal activities while still managing pain.


"Patients have greater control over their pain, are more mobile, and experience fewer adverse side effects, like nausea and vomiting, that traditional oral narcotics can cause," says Thomas Orsini, Sorenson COO and president. The pumps infuse a continual controlled dose of non-narcotic pain medication, and, if necessary, patients can periodically infuse a small amount of the drug themselves if they experience "break through" pain throughout the day.

Robert Browning is a self-described "old athlete" living in Ogden, who's had a fair number of surgeries. Recently, he under-went surgery to repair his rotator cuff. His doctor recommended the ambIT pump for pain relief in the four days immediately following surgery. "I've always had a bad reaction to pain meds in the past," says Browning. "This pump is absolutely the best thing that's ever happened to me with a surgery. This thing automatically administers medicine and gets you through that 24- to 72-hour period where you hurt like hell. I didn't have to wake up every six hours to take pills to avoid those high pain levels. It changed my surgery outcome completely."

Sorenson's ambIT pumps benefit health providers as well. Hospitals and healthcare facilities turn to the pumps as a lower-cost alternative to other ambulatory infusion pumps, which are less flexible, more complex and more expensive than the ambIT series.

"The uniqueness of the ambIT product is the low cost, the ease of use and the fact that it can be programmed to meet the specific needs of the individual patient," says James Sorenson, Sorenson's CEO. "This is a pump that generally has the same performance characteristics and safety features that you'd pay for in an expensive pump--for a fraction of the price."

Recently, Sorenson was selected as an in-network provider of infusion pumps by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah in a deal that allows Sorenson to work directly with patients' insurance companies, saving patients and hospitals money.

Sorenson Medical is optimistic about the ambIT pumps niche in the market. The 75-person company not only designed the pump's technology, but also manufactures, markets and sells the devices to customers throughout the world. "Our device is unique in that it fills a technology gap between low-end mechanical devices, such as balloon pumps, and the expensive electronic ambulatory pumps," says Orsini.

With healthcare providers looking for ways to decrease costs while improving patient outcomes, and patients eager for better therapies that provide more control and a chance at easier recovery, it would seem Sorenson's ambIT pumps would definitely ease the pain.

Elizabeth Sweeten is a Salt Lake City-based freelance writer.
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Title Annotation:techknowledge
Author:Sweeten, Elizabeth
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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