10 Cutting Edge Medical Devices Recognized For Excellence In Design

The 2009 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) were announced this week by the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry. There were 32 award winners and every one of the winners contributed a medical device that advances their industry and  provides cutting edge technology to improve patient care. Space and time don't allow me to introduce all of these devices to you, so I randomly selected 10 just to give you a sampling of medical inventions that may be significant to you some day.


1.  Aquillion One Dynamic Volume Computer Tomography System By Toshiba America Medical Systems

The Aquillon One is the only computed tomography system that can see what's going on in your head, heart, or other organs with one simple rotation that takes minutes, not hours.  Now only in a few hospitals, the Aquillon One is life saving for those who suffer heart attacks, strokes, or other major traumas.  It replaces all other tests, so there is no need to delay treatment while both surgeon and patient wait for additional ones.





2.  LiquiBand Optima by MedLogic®

A  wound closure application in a tube, containing cyanoacrylates like Super Glue, that can be used on most wounds after cleaning. Primary use is by emergency room clinicians, urgent care or doctors' offices. LiquiBand requires no needles, no sutures, provides a liquid barrier protection against microbials, heals neater cosmetically, and heals faster than sutures.

A cost effective, patient friendly, and easy, quick and clean procedure for practitioners.  




3.  Styla MicroLaser by Zap Lasers

The Styla is dentistry's first microlaser, suitable for an array of soft tissue procedures, including biopsies, fibroma removal, gingival procedures, implant recovery, and treatment of canker sores and ulcers of oral mucosa. The Styla Microlaser is less than 7 inches long and weighs less than 2 ounces.  It uses disposable tips, a rechargeable lithium battery and is operated by a wireless foot pedal.

Patients will benefit from lower dose anesthetics, less bleeding, less pain, and faster healing than if traditional methods of dentistry were used.





4. Whiz Freedom Hygienic Urine Director by Jbol Ltd.

A device which allows women to urinate without removing their clothing directs the urination stream away from the body.  The Whiz Freedom is made from a hydrophobic, anti-microbial material that dries in a few shakes and enables reuse of the device without washing or rinsing. 

Whiz Freedom allows one to urinate standing, lying down or sitting.  There are attachments available to direct the urination stream even further from the body.  Other models of the Whiz are made for disabled persons.



5.  Provent Professional Sleep Apnea Therapy by Ventus Medical Inc.

Provent is a new treatment for sleep apnea that employs a microvalve that opens and closes, directing exhaled air through small holes to create resistance. The Provent tapes adhere to the nostrils with hypoallergenic adhesives.  They are one-use devices that don't require any maintainence. 

The current preferred method for treating sleep apnea is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.  It comes with a motor and a mask and requires considerable maintenance.  It is somewhat noisy and may interfere with one's sex life.  You can see why.




6.  Lyric Hearing Aid by InSound Medical Inc.

Designed for persons with mild to moderate hearing losses, the Lyric Hearing Aid is the first totally invisible hearing aid that you can wear 24/7 whether you're taking a shower, on the telephone, or flying on an airplane.  You can even use ear buds with Lyric.   A Lyric device only lasts for about 120 days, however, and as the company requires a subscription payment, so after the Lyric wears out, you would just go back to your local dealer and get another Lyric fitting.




7.  ThermoSuit Body-Cooling System by Life Recovery Systems

When the difference between recovery and death means minutes, as it usually does in stroke, cardiac arrest, or heart attach victims, it is necessary to keep the patient's body temperature down... way down.  Most hospitals have some protocol for body cooling, but the Thermosuit System has proven to be the fastest way to lower body temperature; the quicker you reduce body temperature the quicker you prevent brain damage.  Like a plastic bag, the ThermoSuit surrounds the body with ice water that keeps recyling through the system to re-chill. Core body temperature falls to about 90 degrees F, or 33 degrees Celsius, in 10 to 30 minutes.




8.  S3™ Medical/Surgery Bed by Styker®

In the interest of creating a more secure hospital bed as well as greater ergonomic comfort for the patient, the new S3 offers one-hand operation of siderails, a center mounted brake system, and easy access controls.  The S3 can monitor patient positions remotely to avert potential danger to the patient.  The design of the bed reduces the assistant's efforts in turning or moving the patient as well.




9.  INRatio2 Blood Coagulation Monitor by Hemosense, Inverness Medical

The latest version of the INRatio is a do-it-yourself blood coagulation monitor for those with thrombotic disorders, such as damage from heart attack, mechanical heart valves, or atrial fibrillation.  Because anticoagulant medications can vary in their effectiveness depending on patient circumstances (diet, alchohol intake, illness, etc.), medication levels may need to be changed periodically.  The INRatio2 is a medical device that a patient can use at home by placing a drop of blood on the InRatioTest Strip and placing the strip into the monitor.  Results are obtained in PT (prothrombin time) and INR (International Normalized Ratio) within a minute. 

This INRatio2 obviates the need for frequent doctor visits and puts more control in the patient's own hands.





10.  Merlin.net Patient Care Network By St. Jude Medical Inc.

Merlin.net is a Patient Care Network (PCN),  an Internet-based remote care system that stores information about patient implants, and collects regular information by telemetry transmissions from implanted medical devices when patients are at home.  This is a way for physicians to monitor their patients spontaneously, as well as to  insure the implants are performing the way they should. The system can also be set to alert the physician to any irregularities in performance of the implants.  One aspect of the system is Housecall Plus™, which enables patient initiated data transmission to the physician.


The MDEA will announce the gold and silver winners in each device category on June 10, 2009 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East 2009 Conference and Exposition in NYC. To see the complete list of 32 finalists, please visit  Medical Design Excellence Awards.


 sources: Medical Design Excellence Awards and product websites linked above.