Making Anesthesiology More Science, Less Art
When it comes to monitoring patient consciousness levels during surgery, anesthesiology is as much art as science, traditionally relying on the anesthesiologist's judgment in the absence of instrumentation. The worst case result of this inexactitude, while rare, is everyone's worst nightmare, a condition called surgical awareness, where a patient is awake and can feel the pain but is paralyzed and unable to respond. The more common problem is the over-medication of patients, which results in accompanying side effects and longer recovery times. Aspect Medical has developed the first monitor to enable anesthesiologists to determine a patient's consciousness level to permit physicians to assess the amount of anesthesia necessary for sedation and track the risk of awareness. It's been a long haul for Aspect, which started in 1987 as a cardiology company and has survived a near bankruptcy and a pulled IPO along the way. But the result is the first major medical device IPO in nearly two years and a first mover advantage in a large market.
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