Guidant opens VR training facility while renewing biliary stent and peripheral vascular disease products

Brussels 19 March 2002The Guidant Europe Cardiac and Vascular Institute, based in Brussels, has opened its virtual reality training facility for physicians. The unique training system was exclusively developed for Guidant by Mentice, a pioneer in clinical education systems utilising the latest virtual reality simulation technologies. Guidant Corporation has also enhanced its Dynalink Biliary Self-Expanding Stent System. In addition, the company, on February 22, received FDA clearance to market the new Agiltrac .018 Peripheral Dilatation Catheter for treating peripheral vascular disease, following CE Mark approval on January 11, 2002.


Guidant's new virtual reality system is a simulator for catheter-based procedures such as stent placement, balloon angioplasty, and coronary sinus lead placement required for cardiac resynchronisation therapy. The newly opened facility offers eight simultaneous sessions allowing physicians to practise cases and share their experiences in a natural learning environment.

"This system provides a remarkably realistic tactile and visual simulation of interventional procedures allowing physicians to practise new therapeutic techniques in a virtual environment", stated Guido Neels, president, Guidant Europe. "Our investment in this important training tool demonstrates Guidant's commitment to clinical excellence and education."

Training sessions at the Guidant Europe Cardiac and Vascular Institute are designed and moderated by experts with extensive practical clinical experience and proven teaching competency. These experts also make sure that the latest advances are incorporated into the institute's programmes.

"Innovation and learning go hand in hand at the Cardiac and Vascular Institute", stated Professor Jean Marco, Clinique Pasteur, Toulouse, France. "With the virtual reality system, the stenting procedure looks and feels remarkably similar to a real case but without putting actual patients at risk or using animals for training. Interventional techniques can be practised again and again at increasing levels of difficulty in a virtual cath-lab environment."

Martin Schalij, M.D., Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands, an experienced implanter of cardiac resynchronisation devices for patients with heart failure noted: "This virtual reality system allows physicians to get past the learning curve with the over-the-wire lead system much faster and without the discomforts that come with a cath-lab environment, such as exposure to radiation and time constraints. In a matter of hours on the simulator, practical experience is cumulated which otherwise would take numerous procedures."

Guidant's newly enhanced Dynalink System features new 80 mm and 100 mm stent lengths, allowing physicians to treat longer obstructions. It also features new design and materials for improved deployment. Biliary obstructions are blockages found in the ducts that carry fluids from the liver to the gallbladder or from the gallbladder to the small intestine.

Guidant's Dynalink System is comprised of the Dynalink stent and delivery system. After entering the access site through a small puncture in the skin, a physician guides the flexible catheter to the site of the blockage. Once deployed, the Dynalink stent serves as scaffolding to hold the previously obstructed areas open.

The Dynalink Biliary Self-Expanding Stent System is part of a family of Guidant products designed specifically for non-coronary anatomy. These products, intended for the treatment of malignant biliary obstructions, include the Omnilink .035 and .018 and RX Herculink PLUS Biliary Stent Systems.

The next-generation Agiltrac peripheral dilatation catheter is intended to treat blockages in peripheral arteries through a non-surgical angioplasty procedure. The treating physician inserts the catheter through a small incision and guides the catheter to the peripheral blockage. The physician then inflates the balloon at the site of the blockage, which presses against the artery wall and restores blood flow through the previously blocked area.

Guidant Endovascular Solutions has formed a dedicated Peripheral Vascular Sales organisation to better serve physicians performing procedures to treat peripheral vascular disease. In the first quarter of 2002, Guidant Endovascular Solutions will double the number of its Peripheral Territory Managers.

The dedicated Peripheral Vascular Sales organisation will provide specialised clinical insight and expertise in Guidant's innovative biliary stents and peripheral products. The sales force was formed in response to the growing number of peripheral procedures performed by physicians. Previously, Guidant's Peripheral line was distributed by its Coronary and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm sales forces.

Guidant Corporation pioneers lifesaving technology, giving an opportunity for better life today to 8 million cardiac and vascular patients worldwide. The company, driven by a strong entrepreneurial culture of more than 10.000 employees, develops, manufactures and markets a broad array of products and services that enable less invasive care for some of life's most threatening medical conditions.

More information on the Guidant Europe Cardiac and Vascular Institute is available in the VMW December 2000 article Guidant European Cardiovascular Institute for the training of emerging cardiovascular procedures inaugurated.

Leslie Versweyveld

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