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Medical Device's Ice Age

Executive Summary

Medical researchers have known for more than 50 years that cold can be an important cardio- and neuroprotectant, but concerns about the side effects of deep hypothermia and sloppy, time-consuming procedures turned physicians away. Advances in device design as well as new research on the value of mild hypothermia have unlocked the potential of the therapy to function as a temperature management tool in surgery and critical care, to protect against injury from emboli in cardiac surgery, in resuscitation and trauma, and perhaps the biggest opportunities, in stroke and heart attacks.

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Is Therapeutic Hypothermia Finally Heating Up?

Therapeutic hypothermia companies have largely been disappointing for investors who poured in -- and lost -- fortunes investing in promising cooling technologies. But while many first-generation start-ups no longer exist, the technologies they developed live on within the large corporations that paid pennies on the dollars to acquire them. Although the pioneers in the field failed to meet their objectives, there is reason for hope. Their corporate acquirers have continued to move the technology down the field. The end zone may not be in sight, yet, but advancement is slow and steady. Meanwhile, medical societies including the American Heart Association have issued guidelines on how hospitals should employ therapeutic hypothermia in treating patients. Similarly, some decision makers - including the City of New York - are requiring patients be taken to facilities that offer cooling treatments, giving the field the legitimacy it lacked for so long. Finally, innovation is beginning to take root again as new start-ups develop a next generation of therapeutic hypothermia devices. Taken together, these developments suggest that patient temperature management may arrive someday soon.

Temperature Management Devices Are Hot

Doctors have long theorized that being able to precisely warm (hyperthermia) and cool (hypothermia) patients, depending on their conditions and surroundings, would be beneficial in a variety of neurological and cardiovascular procedures. This has given rise to a group of medical device companies formed in the mid-to-late 1990s dedicated to developing temperature management systems. The big question has ben whether clinical data would validate the bets these companies made in this space. Early clinical data released recently has been positive, and large companies are interested in this area, sparking the first major temperature management deal.

Temperature Management Devices Are Hot

Doctors have long theorized that being able to precisely warm (hyperthermia) and cool (hypothermia) patients, depending on their conditions and surroundings, would be beneficial in a variety of neurological and cardiovascular procedures. This has given rise to a group of medical device companies formed in the mid-to-late 1990s dedicated to developing temperature management systems. The big question has ben whether clinical data would validate the bets these companies made in this space. Early clinical data released recently has been positive, and large companies are interested in this area, sparking the first major temperature management deal.

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