Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cleveland Clinic's Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2013
Each year the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio brings together physicians to gaze into their (admittedly well informed) crystal ball, and evaluate what are likely to be the hot tickets for healthcare innovation in the coming year.
Claire O’Connell, executive directors of  Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

10 Health insurance/Medicare Program/Rewards for better health

Rising health costs are being driven in part by chronic diseases. The bipartisan Medicare Better Health Rewards Program Act of 2012 has been presented to US Congress as a way to improve healthcare and control costs for Medicare participants – the three-year program aims to encourage people to take a more active role in their well-being by developing and maintaining healthy habits.

9 Digital breast tomosynthesis

This form of “3D mammography” can be performed along with a conventional mammogram to provide a more accurate view of the breast.

During the mammogram the X-ray arm of the machine travels quickly in an arc over the breast, taking dozens of images at a number of angles that can then be combined to build up a three-dimensional image. The approach helps to visualize small cancers obscured by surrounding tissue.

8 Modular devices for treating complex aneurysms

An abdominal aortic aneurysm, or weakness in the wall of the aorta in the abdomen, can have catastrophic consequences if it ruptures.

Large or leaking aneurysms can sometimes be treated through a minimally invasive procedure using a stent graft, but many patients have anatomies that are not suitable for the grafts.

The concept here is a modular stent graft system that can be quickly customized to suit the patient.

7 Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion

This technology stands to increase the number of lungs available for transplant by “washing” the removed donor lung to address injury and improve the quality of the organ.

The donor lung is put in a bubble-like transparent chamber connected to a cardiopulmonary pump and a ventilator.

The organ is then exposed to special fluids, nutrients and oxygen, and in some cases targeted medications. And once it’s deemed viable, it’s ready to be transplanted.

6 Femtosecond laser cataract surgery

Cataracts are a leading cause of vision impairment, but surgery can remove the damaged tissue and implant a new intra-ocular lens.

Femtosecond lasers enable a “bladeless” cataract procedure that makes a circular hole in the lens capsule, splits the lens into sections and then softens and breaks up the cataract.

5 Hand-held optical scan for melanoma

Melanoma is on the increase in many parts of the world, and early detection is important so the malignancy can be removed in good time.

This innovation is a hand-held device that a dermatologist can use in an office.

It shines lights of several wavelengths on the area to visualise the small blood vessels just below the surface of a mole or lesion, all without needing to cut the skin.

In this way the doctor can assess the patient without the need for biopsy and the potential scarring that could involve.

4 Drugs for advanced prostate cancer

The last couple of years have seen several drugs approved by the US FDA for advanced prostate cancer, and further developments are expected.

So perhaps this innovation’s spot on the list is akin to the “lifetime achievements” award – but there is more on the way.

3 Mass spectrometry for bacterial identification

If a patient has a serious bacterial infection, getting that diagnosis quickly and giving the appropriate medication can make all the difference.

Developments in mass spectrometry mean it’s now possible to identify bacteria from a patient sample in minutes rather than in days.

2 Neuromodulation device for cluster and migraine headaches

Migraine and cluster headaches cause enormous human misery and loss of productivity.

The innovation here is a miniature, implantable, on-demand stimulator for the sphenopalatine ganglion nerve bundle behind the face. Once it’s in place, the patient can control the device to help block pain.

1 Bariatric surgery for control of diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a serious health issue, and the risk of developing the chronic condition increases with obesity.

Recent studies have been finding that bariatric surgery – which alters the gastrointestinal tract to reduce energy uptake – can play a role in controlling Type 2 diabetes.

Tweet: Cleveland Clinic's top 10 innovations for 2013 will do more for less, i.e. provide more  health benefits at less cost.


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