For Dr. Steven Tropello, an emergency critical care physician at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, it was just another day to his work, but it soon became a massive turning point in his life on account of an incident. A severe heart patient in his hospital had pulled out her feeding tube. The on-call gastroenterologist would have been able to put the feeding tube back at its proper position, but being pre-occupied with other patients, he could not attend the patient until the next day. This unsettling indolence of the hospital staff made Dr. Tropello regretful, and he wanted to find a solution to amend it. He realized that the problem lay in the cumbersome and complicated process of gastrostomy (inserting a feeding tube by making a small incision on the abdomen). Not having a visual-guided method for this, medical staff had to rely on specialists (gastroenterologists). However, instead of being a passive bystander, Dr. Tropello took a step toward addressing and solving any instances of similar future events and that step became a quantum leap forward for gastronomy tube insertion procedures.
Invented by Dr. Tropello, CoapTech delivers a novel platform technology that combines the idea of magnet-guided medical device placement with low-cost, point-of-care ultrasound for visualization of gastronomical tubes. In this process, strong rare-earth magnets are used to manually guide device placement inside the human body, while real-time, low-cost ultrasound provides visual feedback to the clinician to ensure safety. The company’s point-of-care ultrasound magnet aligned (PUMA) technology helps clinicians in positioning and placing a patient’s feeding tube using magnets, with clear visualization of paths inside the body.
It provides an alternative to a typical feeding tube placement procedure, which may require specialists, greater levels of sedation, and use of an operating room.
“We have defined the use of coaptive ultrasound PUMA to perform this novel gastrostomy procedure, as Percutaneous Ultrasound Gastrostomy (PUG),” says Howard Carolan, co-founder and CEO of CoapTech. Briefly, PUG is a point-of-care (as opposed to operating room) procedure for inserting gastrostomy tubes, which non-surgical providers can perform quickly and easily. It employs readily available medical devices such as ultrasound, feeding tubes, guide-wires, and dilators. The PUG device consists of an orogastric catheter with a balloon that encloses a magnetic bar at its distal end and an external, handheld magnet. The orogastric tube is passed through the mouth or the nose and into the stomach. The external magnet is then used to maneuver the balloon to the desired location in the stomach, with feedback and guidance from real-time ultrasound visualization. The novelty of this approach is the use of magnets to create the static compressive force needed for coaptation, in which the stomach is pushed flush against the abdominal wall, allowing ultrasound visualization of the entire gastrostomy tract (skin to the stomach), and ensure safe cutaneous puncture for tube insertion and guidewire-assisted placement of the gastrostomy tube.
We have defined the use of coaptive ultrasound PUMA to perform this novel gastrostomy procedure, as Percutaneous Ultrasound Gastrostomy (PUG)
Today, with the help of CoapTech’s technique, hospitals have recorded an estimated 33 percent to 50 percent reduction in feeding tube insertion time. With this system, hospitals can use the ultrasound machines they already have in place. Moving ahead, CoapTech will pursue additional applications of the device to other clinical-procedure markets to leverage the core technology, expand the company, and improve care quality, cost, safety, and access to patients around the world. Carolan says CoapTech has made significant progress over the past year, and he is “excited to start challenging the status quo with this new technology.”
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