Located in Cleveland and Bend, Ore., Clear Catheter Systems received the award from the Vienna, Austria college through a worldwide competition to identify innovations that have the potential to change the standard of care in heart and lung surgery.
Established by the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) to recognize the most important technological breakthrough related to thoracic and
cardiovascular surgery, the award was announced on Oct. 17 in Vienna.
PleuraFlow was developed to keep drainage catheters clear following heart and lung surgery. “One of the most common ways to limit tube clogging is to simply use larger diameter tubes,” said Dr. Edward Boyle, inventor of the technology and co-founder of Clear Catheter Systems, in a written statement (pdf).
“These tubes, however, can also become occluded [and] are significantly more painful,” Boyle said. “We have found that active chest tube clearance with the PleuraFlow Catheter System improves post surgical drainage and limits the degree of blood clots retained in the chest, not only in standard-sized tubes but also in the more minimally invasive size ranges.”
Dr. Marc Gillinov, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and co-inventor of the technology, said: “There has been increasing interest in minimally invasive surgery and the use of smaller diameter chest tubes to limit pain after heart and lung surgery. The ability to miniaturize tubes is limited by the development of clots in smaller diameter tubes that prevent them from adequately functioning. Solving this problem is a great advance in the hope to make cardiothoracic surgery safer and less painful.”
In July 2008, the company, formerly known as PleuraFlow, won $250,000 from the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center at the Cleveland Clinic and a like amount from Xgen Ltd., a Cleveland investment partnership primarily owned by the family of radio and dot-com mogul, Tom Embrescia.
An additional $100,000 came from wealthy individual investors, often called “angels,” who previously invested in the Oregon company’s technology.