Last week the Superior Court of Massachusetts entered a Final Judgment in the latest round of “Laser Wars” being waged between Volcano Corporation (NASDAQ: VOLC) and St. Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ). Both companies “lasered up” a few years ago…and that has led to their “lawyering up” — remember “Stent Wars“?
In fact, Dr. Julio Palmaz, co-inventor of the first angioplasty balloon exandable Palmaz-Schatz stent, told me last year that the biggest thing an inventor needed to understand was just how much time he’ll be spending in court, defending his patent. That certainly is the case with the laser technology used in a new generation of intravascular imaging catheters, called OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) which can be used to image the inside of a coronary artery, look at a stent’s positioning, whether it has healed correctly, etc. Continue reading
I’ve written a lot about Fractional Flow Reserve, or FFR, in the past — and the fact that it’s a simple tool that can be used during an angiogram to assess the actual obstruction to the volume of blood flow being caused by an arterial blockage. Sure you can SEE a blockage on the fluoroscopic image, but should you stent it?
The results of the by now well-known FAME study indicate that a third of the blockages between 50% and 90% (as seen on the angiogram) actually had an FFR measurement of greater than 80% (meaning that the obstruction of flow was less than 20%, even though the blockage looked more significant on the angiogram). Most importantly, treating those blockages with angioplasty and stenting resulted in worse outcomes at one year — results which have remained constant now three years later. For more information, read our exclusive interview with Dr. Nico Pijls, co-principal investigator for FAME. Continue reading