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News Archive 2004
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December 30, 2004
Private Sector Tsunami Aid Grows
Pharmaceutical and medical device companies have pledged significant funds to aid South Asia in the aftermath of the tragic tsunami that has taken over 125,000 lives. Pfizer tops the list with a pledge of $35 million ($10 million in cash, the rest in medical supplies) equaling the entire initial aid package promised by the Bush administration (note: U.S. government aid was increased ten-fold to $350 million on Friday, December 31). Johnson & Johnson and Abbott have each pledged $2 million (Abbott recently upped their contribution to $4 million), with Merck coming in at $250,000 and Boston Scientific at $100,000. You can donate through any number of organizations -- go to the Washington Post article "How You Can Help" for more information.
(source: Matthew Goldstein,

December 17, 2004
Bush Chief Speechwriter Has Coronary Procedure
George W. Bush's chief speechwriter, Michael Gerson, underwent successful angioplasty and received two coronary stents to reopen partially blocked vessels on Friday after suffering chest pains.
(source: Reuters)

(Special Section)
Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Buy Guidant

December 16, 2004
J&J sees no antitrust roadblocks to Guidant deal
Although a topic which has been discussed about the merging of these two cardiology units, J&J seems to feel there won't be any significant problems. (Note: see Editor's blog for more about this issue.)
(source: Reuters)

December 15, 2004
Johnson & Johnson and Guidant Announce Definitive Agreement Valued at $23.9 Billion Based on $76 per Share
They just celebrated their 10th anniversary yesterday -- and today they are announcing they will become part of the healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. Their official press release states that the "Transaction will bring together cardiovascular expertise and technologies to benefit patients and physicians worldwide."
(source: Guidant Corporation / Johnson & Johnson)

December 15, 2004
Johnson & Johnson to Acquire Guidant
The long-anticipated deal has been made.
(source: Associated Press)

J&J Says to Buy Guidant for $25.4 Billion
(source: Reuters)

December 14, 2004
J&J-Guidant Deal Could Aid Boston Scientific - Analysts
How could the teaming up of two major competitors help the third? By slowing down the current Guidant pipeline, says Deutsche Bank analyst Tao Levy -- short term. But long term is a bit different story.
(source: Susan Kelly, Reuters)

December 13, 2004
J&J: Don't Stop Dealmaking Now
Patent expirations and a thin pipeline mean the giant needs more than Guidant.
(source: Amy Barrett & Michael Arndt, BusinessWeek Online)

December 13, 2004
Johnson & Johnson and Guidant Hold More Talks on Acquisition
May take a couple more days -- there is negotiating going on over the price/share.
(source: Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times)

December 12, 2004
J&J, Guidant Close to Finalizing Deal
Closer...closer...looking for a formal announcement on Monday
(source: Jessica Hall, Reuters)

December 12, 2004
Sale would be premium for execs: Top Guidant officials stand to gain millions from transaction
What happens to the a company when it is bought by another? This article details the various agreements in place that will be triggered if the merger is voted on (executives from both J&J and Guidant are scheduled to meet this Sunday evening to discuss and possibly vote on the merger).
(source: Jeff Swiatek, Indianapolis Star)

December 10, 2004
Guidant deal seen insulating J&J from drug exposure
Another article about the implications of the merger, with a very specific opinion from an interventional cardiologist, regarding his current choices of drug-eluting stents: "Dr. Samin Sharma, head of interventional cardiology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, said he and many other cardiologists are hoping J&J will buy Guidant and coat the smaller company's highly maneuverable bare metal Vision stent with sirolimus. "It would be a marriage made in heaven -- the most flexible stent on the market coated with the best drug, and that's why J&J and Guidant need each other."
(source: Ransdell Pierson, Reuters)

December 10, 2004
Johnson & Johnson near Guidant deal
MarketWatch reports on a Wall Street Journal source that the two companies have scheduled a Sunday Board meeting and that the merger may be announced by Monday. Stay tuned.
(source: CBS MarketWatch)

December 9, 2004
J&J, Guidant Talks Undeterred by Overlap
Rumor swirls have included talk of anti-trust regulations forcing J&J to sell off Guidant's stent business, but that is not the plan, according to "sources familiar with the situation", who also hint that the deal might be sealed as early as Monday.
(source: Reuters)

December 9, 2004
Abbott has an eye on stent firms' merger talk
More analysts discuss the effect the merger might have on the current and future players in the stent market.
(source: Bruce Japsen, Chicago Tribune)

December 8, 2004
Guidant merger talks jolt industry: Johnson & Johnson deal would challenge Medtronic's primacy
Has this impending merger got everyone worried? You bet!
(source: Jim McCartney, St. Paul Pioneer Press)

December 8, 2004
J&J Guided to Guidant?
The possible merger between device heavies is discussed from the business side by Motley Fool (free registration required). There's been much speculation about the meaning of such a merger (see articles below) -- The Fool characterizes it as a "massive...broadside aimed squarely at key competitors Boston Scientific and Medtronic." (Read my comments in my blog, The Voice in the Ear -- ed.)
(source: Dave Marino-Nachison, The Motley Fool)

December 8, 2004
Guidant Acquisition Would Benefit St. Jude
Adding to the instant analyses of a much-speculated-upon event, Forbes reports that Credit Suisse First Boston thinks the merger between J&J and Guidant might have positive effects for St. Jude, and also "slight positives" for Boston Scientific and Medtronic.

December 8, 2004
For Boston Scientific, a potential threat; Competition will get hot in cardiac market if firm's rivals merge
The Boston Globe's take on the possible merger and its impact on its "hometown" company.
(source: Ross Kerber, Boston Globe)

December 8, 2004
Johnson & Johnson Decides It Needs Devices
An update on the possible J&J / Guidant merger and the impact that it will have on the field of medical devices.
(source: Barnaby J. Feder, New York Times)

December 7, 2004
Johnson & Johnson Said to Be in Talks for Heart Device Maker
Is J&J going to buy Guidant? Rumors swirl as Ron Dollens is about to step down as CEO of Guidant at the end of this month with no successor yet named. After all, Guidant is currently a marketing partner, selling J&J's CYPHER™ drug-eluting stent. Such a move would certainly change the playing field in the "Stent Wars". A breaking story from the New Your Times (free registration from NYT is required to read it.)
(source: Andrew Ross Sorkin and Barnaby J. Feder, New York Times)

November 16, 2004
The Claim: Sex Can Set Off a Heart Attack
The "REALLY?" column discusses whether or not this is true. For more information about heart disease, love and sex, read this article from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.
(source: Anahad O'Connor, New York Times)

November 13, 2004
Cheney, Short of Breath, Heads to Hospital
Cheney Leaves Hospital
Vice President Dick Cheney, who had a stent and ICD implanted back in 2001 and has had a history of heart trouble, was being taken to a hospital on Saturday for tests after experiencing some shortness of breath, which a White House spokesman said might be attributable to a bad cold he has had. The second article reports that Cheney "feels fine" and no problems were found.
(source: Deb Riechmann, Associated Press / CBS News)

November 7, 2004
Coronary Stents Do Not Improve Long-Term Survival
A study, presented by Duke cardiologist David Kandzari, M.D. at this year's American Heart Association meeting, shows that stenting has little effect on survival rates of patients with CAD, However, stenting does reduce the need for repeat procedures and does have a role in preventing the pain associated with CAD (angina). There is also a suggestion that some patients would be better served through bypass surgery. The study was done before drug-eluting stents were available, but the author hypothesizes that the results from drug-eluting stents will be similar.
(source: Duke University Medical Center)

October 21, 2004
Guidant Begins Enrollment in New Study of Carotid Stenting
The company is beginning enrollment in the CAPTURE (Carotid ACCULINK/ACCUNET Post Approval Trial to Uncover Rare Events) post-approval study, required by the F.D.A. Approximately 1,500 patients who receive the newly-approved carotid stent will be studied for longer term outcomes. Currently the Guidant ACCULINK carotid stent is the only such device approved in the U.S. In this company release, Beverly Huss, president of Guidant Endovascular Solutions, states, "For patients who are ineligible or at high risk for traditional surgery, carotid stenting provides a minimally invasive breakthrough therapy to reduce the risk of stroke. This additional data on carotid stenting performed by a variety of physicians from across the nation will further advance our knowledge of this important new therapy."
(source: Guidant Corporation)

October 13, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces FDA Clearance For New IQ™ Guide Wire
Company press release in which Dr. Stephen P. Wiet of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois states, "Often, devices undergo changes that show promise on paper, but don't pan out in clinical practice...The IQ Guide Wire blends characteristics of several individual guide wires into a versatile workhorse version that delivers outstanding performance in clinical application. The result is a high-tech performance boost to our interventional practice."
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

October 12, 2004
US Medicare to reimburse for carotid stent use
Guidant's carotid stent device was approved last month, the only such device on the U.S. market right now. Johnson & Johnson / Cordis is awaiting approval and several other manufacturers are in the pipeline. Recent reports (read our summary of the TCT on "Carotid Stenting") show that this endovascular approach is now rivaling surgery. Reimbursement is a big breakthrough for this technology.
(source: Reuters)

September 28, 2004
Cut Off at the Bypass: For Most People, Stents and Drugs Are Usually Safer, Better
A very interesting article by Marc Siegel, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University Medical School, about the treatments available for coronary artery disease -- bypass surgery, interventional therapy (angioplasty and stenting) and medical management with drugs. Taking off on the subject of Bill Clinton's recent surgery, he states, "But for the vast majority of patients with heart disease, medications are preferable to surgery, and if trouble occurs, a stent is now the first choice."
(source: Marc Siegel, MD, Washington Post)

September 27, 2004
Guidant Announces Plans to Initiate Groundbreaking Vulnerable Plaque Study
(source: Guidant Corporation)
The study will involve 700 patients and has been dubbed PROSPECT (Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree). It will utilize intravascular imaging technology from Volcano Therapeutics, Inc. to collect data about characteristics of lesions not causing symptoms at the time of treatment. The company's press release explains, "The cause of most heart attacks was once believed to be the gradual closing of arteries over time as plaque build-up slowly increased restricting blood and oxygen flow to the heart. However, the vast majority of heart attacks are now believed to be triggered by the rupture of a lipid-rich vulnerable plaque hidden under the surface of the artery wall, causing blood to clot on the plaque and suddenly block the artery." These plaques are not detectable through stress tests or even angiograms, but through Intravascular Ultrasound.
related stories:
Volcano Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Collaboration in Pioneering Vulnerable Plaque Study -- Volcano Therapeutics, Inc.

September 16, 2004
Guidant Receives FDA Approval for Small Vessel Cobalt Chromium Coronary Stent
The company states that this "highly deliverable new stent broadens Guidant’s market-leading metallic stent portfolio." (a.k.a. "bare metal stent" -- Guidant's initial attempts at developing a drug-eluting stent met with failure and it is now a marketing partner with Johnson & Johnson / Cordis for the Cypher stent. However, Guidant will be presenting early results from its new "Spirit First" drug-eluting stent at the TCT meeting later this month.)
(source: Guidant Corporation)

September 10, 2004
Clinton spurs epidemic of heart checks
"Hospitals around the country are seeing an epidemic of "Clinton syndrome" as worried, middle-aged men take the former president's heart problems to heart and rush to get their own tickers checked. At UMass Memorial Medical Center in central Massachusetts, five cardiac catheterization rooms stayed open extra hours to do angiograms -- $5,000 tests that are the gold standard for checking arteries for blockages."
(source: Associated Press / Alex Williams, New York Times)

September 9, 2004
Patients, others push for angioplasty
Though speakers at Tuesday’s public hearing at New Britain General Hospital came from different walks of life, all agreed that New Britain General should be able to offer the most comprehensive emergency heart care available.
(source: Scott Whipple, New Britain [CT] Herald)

September 8, 2004
LI congressman recently had angioplasty
Bill Clinton wasn't the only Democrat having heart surgery over the Labor Day weekend in New York. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) underwent successful angioplasty for a blocked artery on Sunday, but already returned to work in Washington on Tuesday.
(source: Newsday)

August 31, 2004
Guidant Receives First U.S. Approval for New Therapy Designed to Reduce Risk of Stroke
The company announced that the FDA has approved its carotid stent system, a combination of the stent and filter (to prevent plaque from breaking off and travelling to the brain). It is the first such system approved for the U.S. and offers a minimally invasive alternative to the widely-used open surgical procedure known as "carotid endarterectomy". Approval of this system moves the field of medicine one more step away from surgery and towards endovascular, or catheter-based, therapy. For an extensive look at the history of vascular (non-cardiac) medicine and the current controversy surrounding this evolution, view our documentary "Vascular Pioneers" on our companion site at www.VascularTherapy.Org.
(source: Guidant Corporation)

August 27, 2004
Actor Patrick Stewart Recovers From Angioplasty
David Bowie, Ayatollah Sistani, and now Patrick Stewart....
(source: Anthony Breznican, AP Entertainment Writer)

August 25, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces FDA Clearance for Peripheral Cutting Balloon™ Microsurgical Dilatation Device
The Peripheral Cutting Balloon device features tiny, longitudinally mounted atherotomes (microsurgical blades) on the surface of an angioplasty balloon and will be used to treat patients who are currently undergoing hemodialysis for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). This is the second approval by the FDA this week for a Boston Scientific interventional device.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

August 23, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces FDA Clearance for FilterWire EZ™ Embolic Protection System
The FilterWire EZ System is a low-profile embolic filter which captures embolic material that becomes dislodged during balloon angioplasty and stenting procedures for the treatment of saphenous vein graft (SVG) disease. Cardiac surgeons use the saphenous vein as a graft in coronary bypass surgery -- if and when the graft clogs up, an interventional procedure is used to open it. The FilterWire EZ is an improvement over Boston Scientific's earlier device (the EX, approved a little over a year ago) and has been used in Europe since September 2003.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

August 14, 2004
Iraqi Cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani Has Angioplasty in London
Iraq's most influential Shia leader, 73-year-old Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, is in a stable condition after undergoing angioplasty at the world-renowned Harefield heart hospital in London.
(source: BBC News)

July 29, 2004
Bowie back on form in wake of heart op
A month after undergoing emergency heart surgery (actually, "angioplasty", ed.) David Bowie looked to have completed a remarkable recovery as he made his first public appearance in New York.
(source: Edward Black and Lauren Stewart, The Scotsman)

July 26, 2004
Guidant Announces U.S. Launch of Next-Generation Coronary Dilatation Catheter
Guidant today announced the U.S. launch of the newest in the company’s line of coronary dilatation catheters, the VOYAGER™ rapid-exchange (RX) Coronary Dilatation Catheter, having received F.D.A. approval. Dilatation catheter, a.k.a. "balloons", are used in a variety of interventional procedures, sometimes to "pre-dilate" a blockage before a stent is placed; sometimes to open up a stent that has reclosed over time. The system combines several exciting new technologies to enhance overall performance,” said John Lassetter, M.D., of McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden, Utah. “The low-profile tapered tip contributes to overall system deliverability, which is important for successful treatment of patients with significant coronary artery disease.”
(source: Guidant Corporation)

July 17, 2004
Boston Scientific to Recall Additional Coronary Stent Systems
The company announced today that it is expanding its recall of the Taxus stent system, as well as some lots of the Express2 bare metal stent. Problems had occurred in a small number of stents, having to do with the deflation and subsequent withdrawal of the delivery balloon on which the stent is mounted. An earlier recall was limited to two manufacturing lots. Most important for patients is that "'s action does not affect patients who have already received these stents, because the difficulty is with the delivery system and occurs at the time of insertion, not afterward."
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

July 8, 2004
David Bowie Has Emergency Angioplasty
Thinking he had a pinched nerve in his shoulder, rock-legend Davie Bowie sought treatment last month in Germany, in the midst of his current tour. Turns out he had a severely blocked coronary artery and was immediately treated with emergency angioplasty. Hoping to return to touring next month, Bowie said, "I can't wait to be fully recovered and get back to work again...I tell you what, though, I won't be writing a song about this one." hopes Mr. Bowie reconsiders -- after all, when he was recording his great album "Heroes" in England, Andreas Gruentzig was creating the first angioplasty balloon with Krazy Glue on the kitchen table of his apartment in Zurich.
(source: BBC)

June 23, 2004
Silver lining: Natick firm marks 25 years selling medical devices
A brief overview of Boston Scientific on its 25th anniversary, celebrated yesterday by employees and co-founders Pete Nicholas and John Abele.
(source: Craig M. Douglas, MetroWest Daily News)

June 22, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces $1 Million Gift to Doctors Without Borders
The company, as part of celebrating its 25th anniversary, announced that it plans to make a $1 million gift to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization, because of the its work providing access to medical care for populations suffering from extreme hardships. Doctors Without Borders (website) delivers emergency aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due to social or geographical isolation.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

June 9, 2004
Biophan, Boston Scientific extend collaboration
Rochester, NY-based Biophan has been working on a coating for medical devices that allows MRI imaging. The implications of being able to image metallic devices such as stents, etc. could potentially be very important, for example, in eliminating the costs, discomfort and potential complications of diagnostic angiography.
(source: Steve Lewis, Nanobiotech News)

May 25, 2004
Abbott Vascular Devices Unveils the StarClose Vascular Closure System
The StarClose, a new vascular closure device, and one that does not employ collagen plugs, was introduced at the Paris Course on Revasculation today by Abbott.
(source: Abbott)

April 21, 2004
Cordis Endovascular's Carotid Stent System Recommended for Approval by FDA Advisory Panel
The company today reported the Circulatory System Devices Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended approval of the company's new Cordis Carotid System which consists of two components: the PRECISE® Nitinol Self-Expanding Stent and the ANGIOGUARD™ Emboli Capture Guidewire. These products currently are approved for use in carotid arteries outside the U.S.
(source: Cordis Corporation)

March 25, 2004
Boston Scientific and EndoTex Interventional Systems, Inc. Announce Completion Of Enrollment In Carotid Stenting Trial
The clinical trial, known as CABERNET, uses the EndoTex NexStent™ Carotid Stent in conjunction with the Boston Scientific FilterWire EZ™ Embolic Protection System to treat patients who are at high risk for a carotid endarterectomy. Although the FilterWire EZ is available in Europe, both devices are limited to investigational use in the United States. Endovascular approaches such as these to traditionally "open" surgical procedures are revolutionizing vascular surgery. To get a more comprehensive view of this revolution, and its background, you can view online our recent video "Vascular Pioneers: Evolution of a Specialty", hosted by our sister site, VascularTherapy.Org.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

March 10, 2004
Doctors see vascular system as road to treatment
An interesting overview article about how the whole field of "endovascular" therapy has been replacing open surgery in the treatment of so many diseases. It was Charles Dotter and subsequent pioneers of angioplasty who first envisioned the circulatory system of the body as a highway, in which therapy could be delivered. Certainly this has occurred in the heart, with angioplasty and stenting now more used than bypass surgery. For a full view of how the field of vascular surgery has been and is being affected by the switch-over to endovascular, you can view online our recent video "Vascular Pioneers: Evolution of a Specialty" -- it's a 52 min documentary (divided into chapters for easy viewing) and features 20 of the most prominent vascular and endovascular surgeons practicing today, hosted by our sister site, VascularTherapy.Org.
(source: Debra Sherman and Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters)

March 10, 2004
Data Show Heart Imaging Helps Physicians
Dr. John J. Mahmarian, lead investigator of the INSPIRE clinical trial which tested the value of stress myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) said of the findings, "This is a significant breakthrough because the current perception is that a heart attack sufferer needs to undergo coronary angiography, or surgical procedure, to evaluate the damage of the heart. This study demonstrated that patients found to be at low risk by MPI also are at low risk of a second heart attack and therefore unlikely to benefit from coronary angiography." This new non-invasive imaging technique may ultimately significantly reduce the need for angiograms and/or angioplasties performed on a specific set of heart attack patients.
(source: Baylor College of Medicine)

March 9, 2004
Emory researchers find race and gender gaps in treatment of heart attack
Emory Heart Center researchers studied the records of 672,817 white and black patients younger than 75 years of age. "We found that African-American women and men have continued to receive less aggressive management than white men after myocardial infarction," says Emory investigator Viola Vaccarino MD, Ph.D., lead author of the study. Dr. Vaccarino says the researchers were surprised to discover there has been no trend toward a lessening of the treatment gaps for women and blacks in recent years.
(source: Emory University Health Sciences Center)

March 8, 2004
Exercise As Good As Angioplasty For Some Heart Patients
Better results at half the cost, study from the University of Leipzig finds. It's a program that "makes excellent biological sense" for patients with narrowed coronary arteries but no major symptoms other than angina, says Dr. Richard A. Stein, chief of medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center Singer division in New York and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
(source: Ed Edelson, HealthDay)

March 8, 2004
Striking Benefits Found In Ultra-Low Cholesterol (source: Rob Stein, Washington Post)
New Conclusions on Cholesterol (source: Gina Kolata, New York Times)
Comparison of Intensive and Moderate Lipid Lowering with Statins after Acute Coronary Syndromes (source: New England Journal of Medicine -- in PDF format)
Intensive Statin Therapy — A Sea Change in Cardiovascular Prevention (source: Eric J. Topol, MD, Editorial in New England Journal of Medicine -- in PDF format)
Presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting, two new studies show that reducing LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels even lower than current recommendations resulted in additional significant reductions in heart attacks and the need for angioplasty and bypass surgeries. Patients were given Lipitor, a widely-used statin drug to reduce the LDL. The findings are being hailed by leading cardiologists in superlatives, such as "sea change", "breakthrough", and "a turning-point for the field". The above headlines link to two articles in the news media, as well as two links to the "early release" from the New England Journal of Medicine of one of the studies, and an editorial by Eric J. Topol, MD of the Cleveland Clinic

March 7, 2004
Guidant's Carotid Artery Stenting Trials Demonstrate Positive Outcomes in High-Risk Patients as Alternative to Surgery to Reduce the Risk of Stroke
A company press release announced positive results in the ARCHeR (ACCULINK for Revascularization of Carotids in High Risk Patients) series of clinical trials. The ARCHeR trials were designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of carotid artery stenting as a minimally invasive alternative for treating carotid artery disease and reducing the risk of stroke in patients either ineligible or at high risk for surgery. “ Results from the ARCHeR trials point to the potential of carotid artery stenting as an effective therapy for the thousands of patients with carotid artery disease who, because of their risk and co-morbidity factors, are not well-treated by standard carotid surgery,” said William Gray, M.D., director of Endovascular Care at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. “Carotid stenting appears poised to become a realistic treatment option for these high-risk patients.”
(source: Guidant Corporation)

February 27, 2004
FDA Posts New Web Site on Heart Disease
The Food and Drug Administration today posted a new web site on cardiovascular disease, Heart Health Online ( The web site focuses on FDA-regulated products to prevent, diagnose, and treat cardiovascular disease. It describes cardiovascular conditions, and it links to detailed information about specific diagnostic tests, medications, medical devices, and healthy lifestyles. The web site will be expanded monthly with new conditions and treatments.
(source: United States Food and Drug Administration)

February 20, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces Settlement of All Litigation with Guidant
According to the company, "All pending disputes between the companies will be immediately dismissed. In addition, the companies have agreed to cross license patents in certain specified technology areas."
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

February 19, 2004
Boston Scientific Receives Canadian License for its Carotid Wallstent® System
Company announces Canadian approval of its stent that is used in keeping open carotid arteries -- a procedure that is more and more being used as a less-invasive alternative to open surgery.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

February 18, 2004
Enrollment Complete in First Randomized Head-to-Head Trial Of Drug-eluting Coronary Stents
Cordis announced that enrollment of patients in its clinical trial matching its own Cypher drug-eluting stent with Boston Scientific's Taxus is complete and that results of this comparison should be available by the end of the year.
(source: Cordis Corporation)

February 17, 2004
Medical devices have been a bright spot
A health article -- this time, economic health -- an interesting article about how the Minnesota economy has been helped by the concentration of four of the largest medical device companies: Boston Scientific (see press release below), Guidant, Medtronic and St. Jude.
(source: Janet Moore, Star Tribune)

February 17, 2004
Boston Scientific Announces Expansion Plans in Minnesota
"We've been growing steadily, and we've outgrown our existing space," said Paul LaViolette, Boston Scientific Senior Vice President and Group President, Cardiovascular. "Our expansion plans for Minnesota reflect our expectation of continued growth, driven by our anticipated U.S. launch of TAXUS this quarter as well as other products in the pipeline."
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

February 9, 2004
Depression and Cardiovascular Sequelae in Postmenopausal Women
A large proportion of older women report levels of depressive symptoms that are significantly related to increased risk of CVD death and all-cause mortality, even after controlling for established CVD risk factors. Whether early recognition and treatment of subclinical depression will lower CVD risk remains to be determined in clinical trials.
(source: Archives of Internal Medicine)

February 9, 2004
Company Ties Gene to Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

An Icelandic company states it has discovered a "variant gene that doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke among Icelanders who carry it". The announcement is not without controversy, but the article quotes Dr. Eric Topol of the Cleveland Clinic, co-author of the paper, called the finding "a signal of a really big step forward."
(source: Nicholas Wade, New York Times -- Times requires registration; it is free)

February 5, 2004
Angioplasty an Option for Clogged Brain Arteries
Not heart-related, but this report from the American Stroke Association's annual meeting in San Diego discusses the fact that angioplasty clears clogged brain arteries and prevents stroke in people who fail to respond to medication.
(source: Robert Preidt, HealthDay)

February 4, 2004
Even Very Elderly Patients Can Benefit From Angioplasty or Bypass
A study from Haifa, Israel indicates that selected patients 80 or older can do as well as those a decade younger. Christopher P. Cannon, MD, FACC with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts comments, "“In general there has been reluctance to treat the elderly, especially octogenarians, as aggressively as younger patients...this study suggests we need to be more aggressive with our elderly patients." You can read the entire study in PDF format here.
(source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology)

February 4, 2004
New guidelines take a personal approach to preventing cardiovascular disease in women
New guidelines, based on a woman’s individual cardiovascular health, were released today by the AHA. According to Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., chair of the writing group and director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, “The concept of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a ‘have-or-have-not’ condition has been replaced with the idea that CVD develops over time and every woman is somewhere on the continuum.” Access a PDF file of the guidelines here.
(source: American Heart Association)

February 4, 2004
New Guidelines Show Women How to Avoid Heart Disease
A report on the new AHA guidelines (link above) issued today.
(source: Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay)

February 2, 2004
Medtronic Receives CE Mark Approval For The Sprinter™ Semi-Compliant Rapid Exchange Balloon Dilation Catheter
Company announces that its latest balloon technology, designed to navigate difficult lesions, has been approved for sale in Europe.
(source: Medtronic Inc.)

February 1, 2004
Technology improves patient outcomes
Angioplasty.Org is always interested in the impact of medical technology at the local level. This is a piece from Evansville, Indiana about how the practice of cardiology, as well as other specialties, has changed as a result of these breakthroughs.
(source: Ella Johnson, Evanville Courier & Press)

January 29, 2004
Angioplasty for Heart Attack Particularly Helpful for Women
The Reuters article states, "People suffering a heart attack may be treated with clot-busting drugs or taken directly to the OR to have the blockage in their coronary arteries cleared by angioplasty. The latter strategy, it seems, helps women more than men." The complete study can be read in the American Heart Journal (free registration required).
(source: Reuters Health, American Heart Journal)

January 21, 2004
Arterial Puncture Closing Devices Compared With Standard Manual Compression After Cardiac Catheterization
Researchers in Vienna, Austria conducted a "meta-study" of 30 other studies "to assess the safety and efficacy of APCDs (Angioseal, Vasoseal, Duett, Perclose, Techstar, Prostar) compared with standard manual compression in patients undergoing coronary angiography or percutaneous vascular interventions." While indicating that poor methodology in some of the studies may have affected the results, the researchers concluded that "...there is only marginal evidence that APCDs are effective and there is reason for concern that these devices may increase the risk of hematoma and pseudoaneurysm." The topic of femoral closure devices, which significantly reduce the amount of time patients need to lay still and be immobilized post-angioplasty, is one of the more popular threads in our FORUM. invites comments on this article and experiences of patients and healthcare professionals in our FORUM topic.
(source: Journal of the American Medical Association)

January 19, 2004
Modified Gene Therapy Better for Heart
Researchers in Scotland are working to target the delivery of gene therapy in what the author calls "budding field of gene therapy for heart disease".
(source: Ed Edelson, HealthDay)

January 18, 2004
Heart attack roulette?
Another article about a community's struggle with providing the best treatment for heart attack victims -- angioplasty.
(source: Henry L. Davis, Buffalo News)

January 18, 2004
Gene therapy tried on heart patients
Local angle on a gene therapy clinical trial in Montana.
(source: Billings Gazette)

January 16, 2004
Boston Scientific Completes Enrollment Of Carotid Stenting Clinical Trial
In the latest example of how interventional catheter-based medicine has spread into many specialties, the Company announced that enrollment is completed in the BEACH clinical trial which is using the Company's FilterWire EZ™Embolic Protection System and Carotid Wallstent® Monorail® Endoprosthesis to treat patients who are at high risk for the surgical treatment of carotid endarterectomy. In the procedure, a stent (larger than the type used in coronary angioplasty) is placed in the carotid (neck) artery.
(source: Boston Scientific Corporation)

January 16, 2004
Declining Prevalence of No Known Major Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke Among Adults --- United States, 1991--2001
Despite publicity and widespread knowledge about the need for lowering the risk factors associated with heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and obesity) the number of Americans with one or more of these factors increased in the past decade -- a relative increase of almost 10%, while the relative percentage of people with no risk factors at all went down by almost 14%. The CDC says, "These findings underscore the potential for an increased burden of heart disease and stroke on the health-care system. To prevent the debilitating outcomes of heart disease and stroke among the aging U.S. population, increased prevention efforts and treatment interventions are needed.
(source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control)

January 15, 2004
'Opportunities great,' according to interventional cardiologist
Speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Martin Leon, MD provided an status overview of the current field of interventional cardiology, said, "It's a great time to be an interventionalist," he said. "the opportunity to provide solutions to important medical problems is great." The article provides a good picture of where cardiology is going. (Read our interview with Dr. Leon in the Angioplasty.Org library).
(source: Jim Stommen, BioWorld Today)

January 14, 2004
New evidence bolsters use of heart scans
Now there is evidence that CT scans for calcium can play a significant role in predicting cardiac deaths and making treatment decisions for the millions of people in the middle-range of coronary risk.
(source: Thomas M. Burton, The Wall Street Journal)

January 7, 2004
Strict Blood Sugar Control Key for Diabetic Heart Patients
A report on a study in today's Journal of the American College of Cardiology that finds controlling blood sugar levels in diabetic heart patients after angioplasty and stenting may be very important in reducing restenosis.
(source: Karen Pallarito, HealthDay)

January 7, 2004
FDA Clears Xtrak Support Catheter For Crossing Difficult Lesions
Company press release describes their TOPS™ support catheter that the FDA has now approved for sale in the U.S. It can be used over standard guide wires and can assist in getting an angioplasty balloon through narrow or total occlusions in the artery.
(source: Xtrak Medical, Inc.)

January 1, 2004
New stats show heart disease still America's No. 1 killer, stroke No. 3
Statistics compiled from 2001 show that coronary heart disease alone is the single largest killer of Americans. The disease continues to devastate women as it accounts for one in five women’s deaths. The statistics also show that 2/3 of the U.S. adult population is overweight or obese, and that 1/3 of all deaths from smoking-related illness (almost 1/2 million annually) are cardiovascular-related.
(source: American Heart Association)

January 1, 2004
Heart disease goes beyond the heart
In a companion article to the one above, the American Heart Association discusses what the current statistics shows about diseases related to cardiovascular disease (sometimes the same disease process, but in a different part of the body). These include: congestive heart failure, peripheral arterial disease (clogged vessels in the arms and legs), end-stage renal disease and venous thromboembolism (blood clot).
(source: American Heart Association)

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