Cleveland Clinic research spurs a device that could predict arrhythmia after cardiac surgery


The latest startup commercializing intellectual property developed by heart doctors at the Cleveland Clinic is hoping to give doctors a way to tell which patients might develop arrhythmia after cardiac surgery.

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common complications of coronary and valve surgeries. While there are a variety of drugs used to treat it, in some cases it’s been associated with heart failure, increased risk of stroke and longer hospital stays. Physicians typically don’t know when it’s going to occur in patients, but Cleveland Clinic research could change that.

Work done in the lab of Dr. C. Allen Bashour indicated that most patients who experience atrial fibrillation after heart surgery show clues beforehand in the form of subtle changes in their ECG readings that aren’t detected with the way they’re monitored now.


Rindex Medical is commercializing a tool that would enable physicians to predict which patients will experience AF so they can receive prophylactic treatment before it occurs.

“Right now they basically guess, or treat everyone prophylactically,” said co-founder Alex Arrow. “Some clinicians say they have an intuition about who will get it, but it’s mostly guesswork.”

Rindex’s A-50 AF Prediction System uses algorithms developed at the Clinic to analyze a patient’s ECG signals through 17 steps and produce a score, from 1 to 100, of how likely that patient is to experience AF. Arrow said the final product will be a touch-screen monitor that displays a score and tracks the score over a nine-hour period.

The Redwood City, California, company has been issued the first of its patents for the device and the exclusive license from Cleveland Clinic to develop the technology. Self-funded by Arrow and co-founders Denis Hickey and Lucas Fairfield, Rindex has a working prototype and is making progress on preparations for its 510(k) application. Arrow said the company shouldn’t need to raise a series A until it’s ready for a clinical trial.

Many other research groups have explored ways to predict AF in its various forms from natriuretic peptides to ECG changes, but no standard method exists for this application.

[Photo from Flickr user rosmary]

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