Sorin LifeWatch brings tele-cardiology monitoring services to Italian telemedicine market

Milan 23 July 2001Snia, an Italian expert in cardiac surgery and one of the very few companies in the world with a complete line of products for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, has signed a partnership with Card Guard Scientific Survival Limited, an Israeli supplier of high-tech telemedicine systems and monitoring services, to establish Sorin LifeWatch, a new 50-50 joint venture. This Italian-Israeli venture will provide inhabitants of the Milan metropolitan area with cutting-edge telemedicine and tele-cardiology services.

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The services provided by Sorin LifeWatch (SLW) can be accessed with a simple telephone call to the SLW call centre, and are addressed to those who are required by doctors to monitor their conditions, such as for example, people who suffer from arrhythmias and patients who experienced a heart attack or wear an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator. Anyone else concerned with their personal safety, including senior citizens or people with a particularly busy lifestyle are able to receive an immediate and professional diagnosis around the clock, wherever they may be, in the office, on vacation or at home, relaxing in an armchair.

All calls are answered promptly by technicians, who use interactive tools and show callers how to transmit their electrocardiogram (ECG) to the call centre via telephone. All that SLW customers have to do is to place over their heart a non-invasive, wireless, and compact device of 105x55x10 mm that records their ECG. The device is then held over a telephone handset and the ECG is transmitted to the call centre. A technician is constantly in direct contact, interacting with the caller and is prepared to provide any additional guidance which may be necessary.

The ECG is analysed by a cardiologist who makes a diagnosis and selects the appropriate course of action. For example, if the data indicate the occurrence of a high-risk situation, such as a heart attack, the call centre will dispatch an ambulance immediately. This will bring the patient to a qualified centre of treatment which will have access to the patient's clinical file in real time. People who can benefit from Sorin LifeWatch's services include all those who underwent stopped-heart surgery, patients with an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, and patients who have had a heart attack or suffer from angina, arrhythmia or decompensation.

"The services and support which are supplied by Sorin LifeWatch will complement the care provided by a family physician or a specialist, such as a cardiologist", stated Umberto Rosa, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Snia. "This new venture is consistent with our strategy of focusing the company on its medical technology business, with a special emphasis on the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, an area in which every day our technologies help thousands of people throughout the world live longer and better lives", concluded Mr. Rosa.

Jacob Geva, Card Guard's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We are very excited with this new strategic agreement, as it will strengthen our leadership position in the European market for both our technology products and remote monitoring services. Snia is a powerful strategic partner, and our combined synergies will enhance the capabilities of telemedicine and disease management centres, and will allow the future expansion into other monitoring fields, including pulmonology, diabetes, hypertension, foetal monitoring, and others."

Initially, Sorin LifeWatch will operate in the Milan metropolitan area, which has about four million inhabitants, about 10 percent of whom are potentially exposed to the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Marco Vitale, who is a highly respected member of Italy's business community and who served recently as Special Commissioner for Milan's Ospedale Maggiore, was named Chairman of Sorin LifeWatch. Leopoldo Zauner, an executive with a proven track record in international medical technology companies, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer. The new venture, which will include a call centre and a data management system, will become operational during the fourth quarter of 2001.

Card Guard Scientific Survival Ltd. is a medical technology company which specialises in advanced telemedicine systems and services for populations ranging from high risk and chronically ill patients to ordinary consumers of health products. Snia forms one of Italy's largest industrial groups with a revenue of 1266 billion euros in 2000. With the recent acquisition of ELA Medical, the company significantly strengthened its position as a competitor in the medical technology market. Snia's products are used by all the major cardiovascular treatment centres in the world.

Other news about remote monitoring services for cardiology in Europe is available in the VMW March 2001 article Philips Medical Systems and SHL to establish European telemedicine joint venture.


Leslie Versweyveld

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