IMDA eNews 032123

The latest news affecting you and your customers…

from the Independent Medical Specialty Dealers Association

Distal pharyngeal airway wins innovation award

Roxanne McMurray, a nurse anesthetist and recipient of the American Nurses Association 2023 Innovation Award, leads the team that developed the Distal Pharyngeal Airway (DPA) – also referred to as the McMurray Enhanced Airway – a breathing tool that stents open throat tissue to maintain adequate ventilation for surgery or other medical procedures. This tool is the first-of-its-kind, according to American Nurses Association, and is designed to keep patients breathing who are susceptible to upper airway obstruction during sedation or unconsciousness – a common occurrence with potentially serious outcomes. Studies have shown that the average healthcare patient is more likely to be older, overweight and more susceptible to sleep apnea, all risk factors for breathing complications, and these groups are more likely to undergo outpatient surgeries that require deep sedation. 

Bank collapse ignites chaos among tech start-ups

The recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has left many questioning where investment will come from in the future, according to Nature. Known for funding technology start-ups – particularly green-energy or biotech companies – SVB was closed by regulators following an announcement that it needed to raise $2 billion to cover debts due to rising interest rates. Although the U.S. government’s announcement that it would guarantee deposits with the bank brought a measure of relief for some former customers, some questioned whether this was the best approach. “They’re perpetuating the problem,” says Ethan Cohen-Cole, chief executive of Capture6, a clean-technology start-up in Berkeley, California. The rescue plan covers immediate cash flow problems, such as paying employees, but the next step remains unclear, he notes. He added he would like to have seen the government bolster existing lending programs for small businesses.

Service companies free to repair medical equipment

A ruling by a federal judge in the District of Columbia ensures that companies hired by hospitals can service equipment containing manufacturers’ copyrighted software, exempting them from a 1998 law enacted to combat digital piracy risks, according to MedTech Dive. The judge dismissed a challenge from two medtech industry groups to a rule that allows companies that repair medical devices to sidestep copyright protections intended to limit access to software embedded in the equipment. The exemption was prompted by independent service organizations that provide maintenance for complex computer-controlled medical equipment. The companies stated it was in the public interest to repair and maintain life-saving equipment, adding that hospitals and other medical device owners would be unable to repair their own equipment without risking a lawsuit, unless they purchased expensive service contracts from the manufacturer.

Study aims to reduce pediatric pneumonia hospitalizations

In an effort to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations in children at low risk of severe outcomes, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) awarded Todd Florin, MD, MSCE, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, $5.8 million for a multicenter study. In addition to targeting more focused therapies towards the lower proportion of children at highest risk for severe disease, the study is expected to derive and broadly validate the first emergency department (ED)-based pediatric community-acquired pneumonia severity (PedCAPS) score. Although community-acquired pneumonia is one of the most common serious infections in children and a leading reason that children seek emergency care, no validated tools exist to predict disease severity in children.

Black lung incidence rising

For the past five decades, federal regulations ensured the incidence of black lung disease was in decline among miners. Recently, however, a growing number of miners in central Appalachia, including West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia, have been diagnosed with the disease, according to Kaiser Health News. A study last fall identified silica dust as the driving force behind the spike. Silica exposure in mines comes from drilling into sandstone, which has become more common as thick coal seams have petered out. As the dust turns to sharp particles, it becomes trapped in lung tissue, causing inflammation and scarring and reducing the lungs’ capacity to take in oxygen. The increase in the disease’s most deadly form, progressive massive fibrosis, has been especially pronounced. Since 2005, black lung cases have tripled in Appalachia and PMF has increased tenfold among long-term miners.