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Medical equipment updates, news and reviews

The Hysteroscope and Infertility

10 April, 2013 | Obstetrics & Gynecology

Hysteroscope

Hysteroscope

The hysteroscope is used for diagnosis and treatment of uterus problems. The first hysteroscope was created in 1865 and was first used for gynecology in 1869. The device went through a certain technological revolution in the 1970’s, and additional advances in recent years have decreased its use in diagnosis and increased its use in treatment. Approximately half the time that the hysteroscope is used is infertility related.

 Reviewing the hysteroscope in infertility treatment

 It is assumed that endometrial polyps in the uterine cavity may be problematic in the implantation process of a fertilized egg, accordingly, it has been suggested that removal of these polyps may help increase chances for pregnancy, whether naturally or in fertility treatment.

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews turned to existing studies to examine this issue; they reviewed studies that discussed whether hysteroscopic treatment, such as removal of polyps and the treatment of several additional disorders, increases pregnancy chances in women with unexplained infertility and before artificial insemination.

The conclusions from two studies, that were found to be relevant, provided no evidence that the treatment aided in natural conception, however the removal of the polyps before intrauterine insemination (IUI) did increase the chance for pregnancy. For IUI the percentage of women who became pregnant following hysteroscopic polyp removal was 63% in relation to a 28% pregnancy rate in women for whom only a diagnosis and biopsy were conducted using hysteroscopy.

The review claimed that additional studies were necessary for confirmation of these results and before recommending the procedure as fertility enhancing. The reviewers additionally noted that complications of hysteroscopy and live birth rates were not reported in the study.

 Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that there is a certain amount of evidence to support the premise that hysteroscopic treatment for polyp removal may increase the chance for pregnancy via IUI, but does not seem to make a difference in natural conception. In addition, this positive contribution is especially evident when the hysteroscope is used for treatment and is considerably lower when it is used only as a diagnostic tool.

 

8 Tips For Purchasing Used Medical Equipment

24 March, 2013 | medical equipment

Great responsibility comes with purchasing used medical equipment, as it will be used to monitor, diagnose and treat patients and in some cases, to even save lives. Therefore, when purchasing used equipment it is crucial to be aware of the particular elements, specifications and common malfunctions of each medical device, beforehand.

Following are some basic tips that can assist you in the purchasing process of used or refurbished medical devices or equipment:

Suitability of the Equipment to your needs

Consider if the equipment will meet the needs for which it is being purchased. For example, in cases where there are both stationary and mobile models, consider which will best suit the needs, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Suitability of the Equipment to the Environment

Consider the space where the equipment will be used; choose the model which will best fit into this area and its surroundings. Take into account the size of the device and even the shape to make sure that it will fit into the space that is intended for it. For big devices it is highly recommended to measure the space and check the device dimensions in the specifications.

Condition of the Equipment

Once you have found the used medical device that you are interested in purchasing, examine its condition, both in terms of functionality and visual appearance. Make sure that it is functioning properly and that it has been well maintained. Download for free MedWOW’s buying guide, it is full of tips, recommended questions to ask the seller, and inspection forms for over 300 of the most common medical devices used in clinics, hospitals, labs, and other medical facilities.

Safety

Before operating any used medical device, make sure that the wires and cords are connected properly and that the screws are tight. Make sure that the electrical outlet, into which you are plugging the device, is grounded.

Age of the Equipment

When purchasing used devices, keep in mind that the equipment may be quite old. Make sure that the device has all the functions and features that you are looking for. In cases where the device outputs data, make sure that the interface and the output are both in formats that are still supported by today’s technology. An outdated interface and output may be inconvenient and expensive to support.

Compare Prices

For used equipment there may be some considerable variations in price even for the same device. It is recommended to compare prices and find the device that best meets your needs in terms of its price and condition. Also take into account the transportation costs. For large equipment the transportation costs may be quite high. Look at the bottom line; it may be more worthwhile to purchase the item for a higher price but in a closer geographical location than vice versa.

Operating the Medical Device

Make sure that the person that will be operating the medical device has the relevant training. Ask the current owners if they have the original operation and service manuals, and if they do not, try and obtain this information either from a different source or a person who is experienced and knowledgeable about the device’s operation and maintenance.

Preparation of Used Medical Equipment for its New Location

Once you have purchased the device and it has been placed in its new home, make sure to arrange the cords in a way that there is no tripping hazard. Sterilize the device, especially with regards to reusable equipment and equipment that has been in contact with patients who suffer from contagious diseases. It is recommended that the person performing the sterilization wear gloves, a mask and a gown, if it deems necessary.

Conclusion

Purchasing used medical equipment can be an excellent solution for a limited budget, but it is highly recommended to take the time to examine the device and make sure that it is suitable to your needs. Once a decision has been made to purchase the device, it is necessary to prepare the environment for it and make sure that there are qualified personnel for its operation. Finally, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions, to avoid hazards to both the patients and the people that will be operating the equipment.

PAT Imaging Made Better Thanks to Colored Microbubbles

19 November, 2012 | CT Scanner, imaging equipment, medical equipment, MedWOW, MRI, News, Ultrasound Scanners

Researchers from the University of Buffalo and the University Health Network of Toronto recently developed a contrast agent called Porshe Microbubbles which offers better visibility in  (PAT). A relatively new imaging technology, PAT is the combination of photoacoustic (PA) and ultrasound imaging, bringing together their advantages; high contrast visibility and deep penetration.

Photoacoustic was introduced by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880 and was later applied to biomedical imaging and ultrasound in the 1990′s. Although PAT technology is still in its infancy, initial applications have already been identified in monitoring blood flow, measuring blood oxygen levels and detecting cancer.

In order to achieve the best results possible, researchers were working on a difficulty in the ultrasound component of PAT which prompted the development of Porshe Microbubbles; grainy, low contrast images. Microbubbles offer a solution to this problem by enhancing visibility without affecting the PA technology.

Microbubbles are made of fluorinated gas encapsulated by porphyrin and phospholipid. The result is a high light absorbent agent that enhances the contrast of visual elements and sharpens images. Applied to PAT, the technology enables doctors to view new parameters and better see what occurs in the body in order to treat illnesses.

In blood flow monitoring, PAT uses pulsed laser lights to generate pressure waves. Through these waves, it is possible to measure oxygen levels in the blood which is useful in diagnosing and treating hypoxia and other oxygen related conditions.

Compared to other methods of imaging like MRI or CT, PAT is inexpensive, mobile and does not expose patients to health risks associated with radiation. PAT’s ability to safely detect cancer, particularly breast cancer will greatly increase early detection and survival rates. Conventional imaging detection of breast cancer is done with x-ray which doctors tend to defer since it can exacerbate an existent cancer or cause cancer development.

Professionals believe initial benefits of PAT imaging will include dramatically reducing the time required to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy and to monitor oxygen dysfunction in the blood. Since the technology is still new, further research will be needed to exhaust all potential medical applications.

Improving the Market Health of CT Scanners

14 November, 2012 | CT Scanner

What does the future of computed tomography technology look like according to Frost & Sullivan? They predict within two years, higher CT slice counts will push low slice machines with only 1 or 2 slices out of the European market.

The study compares the use of 1, 2, 4, 16, 20, 32, 40 and 64 slice scanners with that of new higher slice counts 128, 256+ and suggests that the benefits of higher slice scanners should render low slice CT Scanners obsolete in the European market.

Industry professionals cite the push for higher slice CT development as being a direct result of efforts to increase machine efficiency, reduce radiation dosage and enhance image quality. Why? The danger of radiation exposure from imaging technology has been a hot global news topic for some time now. In recent years the use of radiation based methods of imaging like CT and x-ray has dropped significantly.

In view to grow market share, CT scanner technologists have been working towards improvements that will make CT scanners safer, more effective and open up new clinical applications for the technology. The feeling is that the combination of higher CT slice technology alongside the installation of radiation reducing add-on devices; products that have been entering commercialization in response to fears of high radiation exposure, read article ‘Low Radiation CT Scans Thanks to Novel Device’, should be sufficient to cause the use of high slice CT scanners to rally back as a good and cost effective imaging option over more expensive alternatives like MRI.

Frost & Sullivan’s study found that the European CT scanner market yielded $523.6 million in 2011 and estimates the number to reach $691.6 million in 2018. So market research conservatively supports this optimism.

But there will be obstacles to improve the health of the CT industry. Challenges that face deeper CT scanner market penetration include overcoming remaining concerns over radiation exposure, proving real measurable benefits that warrant increased clinical use and training technical staff to support progressively advanced machines.

Beware: Airport Security Could Damage Diabetes Insulin Devices

13 November, 2012 | CT Scanner, imaging equipment, intensive care, medical device, medical equipment, MedWOW, MRI, News, X-ray

A warning published in the journal ‘Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics’ has diabetics and doctors concerned about the dangers of air travel with diabetic medical devices. According to the article, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors could be adversely affected by airport security magnetic x-ray. This refers to x-ray machines used to scan luggage and travelers. It is unclear however whether this warning includes metal detectors; devices that also create a magnetic field.

Medical professionals already know magnetic and radiation based imaging technology like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) interfere with the functioning of diabetes devices. However, initial findings from research conducted by Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase at the University of Colorado suggest that magnetic x-ray equipment used in airport security can also hinder the operation of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) devices. The researchers found that magnetic x-ray can cause a malfunction in the devices’ motors.

The amount of diabetics that could be potentially affected worldwide is enormous. In 2010, company Market Research valued global markets for insulin delivery pumps and continuous glucose monitor systems at $7.4 billion and 92.2 million dollars respectively. Further, these markets are expected to steadily increase because of improved patient access to diabetes care and rising cases particularly among children.

There is no doubt that Cornish and Chase’s research raises a public global health risk that demands further exploration. Little is yet known about how magnetic x-ray affects insulin pumps and CGM. More research is necessary to better understand and develop solutions to the problem.

In the interim, patients are advised to travel with a doctor’s letter that forbids subjecting diabetes equipment to x-ray search. For further updates, contact your local Diabetes Association.

Mitigating Liability in Medical Device Recalls

1 November, 2012 | Cardiology Equipment, medical device, medical equipment, MedWOW, News, Pacemakers

Product recalls are nothing new; they exist in just about every industry. However in the medical device industry, 2012 saw a significant jump in recalls. According to the ExpertRECALL index, over 123 million device units were recalled alone in the first quarter of 2012.

Not surprising, there has been a noticeable increase in device failure and damage claims over the last few years. It’s interesting to note that although the number of unit recalls has increased, the amount of affected devices has not risen greatly.

Today’s market boasts many more medical devices that are smaller, less invasive and made of newer and lighter materials. New medical devices are designed to be more effective than previous technologies; with this in mind, why are there so many more product recalls? Industry professionals point the cause towards the baby boom generation. Representing the largest population segment at the age that requires life-saving medical devices, statistically baby boomers are increasing the magnitude of product recalls.

Medical device categories that are the most prone to recall are orthopedic implants and cardiac devices such as leads and pacemakers. These types of devices are subjected to the most friction and movement that can wear down materials leaving patients at risk to substance poisoning, electrocution or complications due to device failure.

It is known that products can fail and no medical device manufacturer is immune to product recalls. Companies Johnson & Johnson, St. Judes and Covidien are just a few that have been in the news over the past year for product recalls.

Health product recalls are big news. They increase public awareness of device failure and place pressure on government agencies to take action to protect the public. In the USA, the FDA is developing a device tracking system that will facilitate supply chain monitoring of some devices in order to improve recall efforts. Likewise in the UK, legislation is being drawn that will support greater product transparency and allow patients and doctors to make informed choices about medical products.

Other groups at play in recalls include patients and health insurance companies. Because of mounting costs from exponential increases in patient damage claims, health insurance companies are now holding medical device manufacturer’s financially responsible.

As a result of various groups passing on the liability hot potato to medical device manufacturers, clearly changes are necessary in order to mitigate damages. An obvious first step is the development of strong and easily deployed recall strategies to protect brands and limit risks to patients. However, it appears that medical manufacturers are facing a greater learning curve in order to work out issues from newer technologies and adopt procedures geared towards limiting product failure moving forward.

New Hands-Free Injection Device for Home Care

10 September, 2012 | medical equipment, News

Solving common problems patients face, American medical technology company BD is developing an innovative injection device that addresses a few classic drawbacks for patients who need to receive injectables; adherence and convenience.

If medication is difficult or inconvenient to take, chances are patients will be more prone to miss doses which can impair the success of their treatment. Although from time to time many different types of patients need to receive injections, those with regular medication regiments include women who take hormone fertility treatment, aged patients with chronic conditions and diabetic patients who must receive daily insulin to ensure their health.

The Microinfusor patch injector is a hands-free medication delivery system. The device comes pre-assembled with its medication ready to go. The patient simply sticks the adhesive patch to their skin and the hidden needle administers medication as prescribed for the treatment.

As an example of the new generation of medical devices that are entering the global market today, the Microinfuser patch injector allows patients to enjoy home care and health care on the go as it suits their lifestyle. Like many other novel medical devices, the patch delivery system frees patients from frequent visits to health clinics or medical professionals, allowing them to administer their own treatment.

Here are some of the solutions the device offers to common difficulties patients experience when injecting medication:

  • The product’s design is user friendly for aged patients who suffer from dexterity issues.
  • The slow delivery, hands-free system is easy to use and so reduces problems with patient adherence.
  • The device’s design hides the needle both before and after adhesion facilitating better sharps safety.
  • The Microinfuser is for single use and is disposable.

Although The Microinfusor patch injector is not yet available for commercial purposes, it has attracted interest from pharmaceutical companies who wish to partner with the product to deliver their medications. As consumers, we can expect to see the device go commercial in the foreseeable future.