Medtronic expands physician education with procedure training initiatives based on Virtual Reality

Minneapolis 20 May 2004Demonstrating its long-standing commitment to the safe and effective use of its device-base medical therapies for the benefit of thousands of people each day, Medtronic Inc. has deployed a significant investment in simulation technologies and new facilities for the training of physicians and other clinical personnel. The comprehensive training opportunities enable beginning and seasoned cardiology specialists to enhance their device techniques in a highly sophisticated, risk-free, simulated medical setting.


Training is offered at various Medtronic Therapy and Procedure Training Centers using virtual reality imaging labs that provide realistic procedures and replicate patient cases in the areas of heart failure with cardiac resynchronization therapy, heart arrhythmias and coronary artery disease. Training is based on a variety of cases with varying levels of difficulty, delivering both diagnostic and treatment challenges using virtual patients and virtual fluoroscopy with the "feel" of an actual case but without risk.

A key training programme component was introduced at Heart Rhythm 2004 at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Conference attendees could experience the latest in simulation technology when visiting the Medtronic Therapy and Procedure Training Center Mobile Unit - an 80 foot-long, semi truck with two virtual catheterization labs - at Medtronic's exhibit hall.

"As the industry leader in providing cardiac resynchronization therapy systems for the management of heart failure, our advanced simulation programmes largely aim to accelerate safe physician use of this groundbreaking therapy", stated Marshall Stanton, vice president and medical director for Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Management. "With our wide range of training programmes and multitude of device and delivery system options, we are uniquely positioned to help physicians care for more heart failure patients with life-saving and life-enhancing medical technologies."

"Throughout my years of contributing to the development of new cardiac devices and training programmes, I have never seen a more cutting-edge and comprehensive approach to physician training", stated Randy Lieberman, M.D., chair, department of electrophysiology, Harper University Hospital in Detroit, who participated in the development of the Medtronic simulator patient case studies and serves as programme director for one of the company's Centers of Excellence for regional clinician training. "High-quality training is vital to equipping the cardiology community to deliver the best patient care possible, and Medtronic's physician education programmes for cardiac devices will help make enormous strides in this area."

United States-based Medtronic training opportunities are available through:

  • The Medtronic Therapy and Procedure Training Center - North America, which opens this month in Minneapolis and features a 120-person auditorium/classroom, four fully equipped operating rooms, virtual catheterization laboratories and simulator systems. Interactive satellite technology can transmit live procedures in real time from medical centres, allowing interaction with physicians performing new procedures.
  • Medtronic Vascular training facilities in California, New York and Massachusetts. These facilities focus on interventional cardiology procedures, giving physicians simulator-based training in the use of diagnostic techniques, angioplasty catheters, stents, distal protection systems, and peripheral vascular procedures.
  • Regional cardiac device implant training programmes that facilitate greater access to training throughout the country. The Therapy and Procedure Training Center - Mobile Unit, with a conference room and two virtual cath labs, will be based in Florida, and the company is establishing Therapy and Procedure Training Centers at Medtronic regional offices in New Jersey, California, Georgia, Colorado and Minnesota. In addition, courses will be offered at several regional hospitals and medical centres that have been selected as Medtronic Centers of Excellence.

"As medical practice continues to evolve towards minimally invasive devices, simulation will be increasingly used to assure the highest quality training for physicians while substantially enhancing patient outcomes", stated Stephen Oesterle, M.D., senior vice president of Medicine and Technology for Medtronic. "Medtronic intends to continue to lead the industry in providing highly realistic training designed by physicians and involving actual cases. Just as we work to ensure that patients have access to our therapies, we will work to ensure that physicians have access to complete training."

In developing its educational programmes, Medtronic partnered with Immersion Medical, a subsidiary of Immersion Corporation, a provider of haptic technology, which enables clinicians to experience how real procedures should feel so they can develop effective techniques before performing them on patients. Medtronic Inc. is a medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. More company news is available in the VMW February 2004 article Medtronic Octopus 4.3 device offers new refinements to facilitate surgery on the beating heart.

Leslie Versweyveld

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