Meridian's Telepulse oximeter yet another asset for non-invasive cardiopulmonary diagnostics

Columbia 16 January 2002Meridian Medical Technologies Inc. has introduced its new TelePulse oximeter, which allows the transmission of the blood oxygen levels of heart patients to medical personnel by telephone. The new device is now available in Europe and Israel, and the company also plans to seek clearance to market the innovative product in the United States.

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The new TelePulse oximeter measures the levels of oxygen in the blood, as well as heart rate, both key measurements of cardiopulmonary function. The continuous readings are automatically transmitted over telephone lines to a hospital or monitoring centre, where the results can be interpreted by medical professionals.

"The TelePulse oximeter is used in conjunction with Meridian's TeleWeight and TelePres products to monitor congestive heart failure (CHF) patients at home, offering the potential to save lives and reduce health care costs through earlier intervention before the condition reaches crisis stage", stated James H. Miller, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Meridian. He noted that this is the sixth new telemedicine product developed by Meridian over the past three years.

The American Heart Association estimates that 4,7 million patients suffer from CHF in the United States alone, accounting for 285.000 fatalities and $3,7 billion in Medicare payments each year.

The TelePulse oximeter is manufactured by Meridian and marketed by SHL Telemedicine Ltd., based in Israel. SHL recently formed a joint venture with Philips Medical Systems, which is now establishing telemedicine centres throughout Europe.

Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method of monitoring the oxygen levels in a patient's blood. The device consists of a probe that attaches to the patient's finger, and a miniature or handheld computer to process the data. The probe beams light at two specific wavelengths through the finger. The light is then absorbed by the oxygen-laden hemoglobin in the blood at different levels, depending on how much oxygen is present.

By calculating the amount of light absorption, the computer produces a continuous reading of the patient's blood oxygen level, and transmits the data by telephone for monitoring by health professionals.

Meridian has strong core technologies in non-invasive cardiopulmonary diagnostics, and is specialised in the development and sales of auto-injector drug delivery systems. The company develops and produces health care products designed to save lives, reduce health care costs, and improve the quality of patients' lives. More information is available in the VMW April 2001 article Meridian to manufacture telemedicine products for new European venture.


Leslie Versweyveld

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