Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

Replacing an aortic valve without open-heart surgery

For people with a stiff, failing aortic valve, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) offers a shorter, easier recovery than surgical replacement of the valve. TAVR is currently approved only for people in whom surgery is too risky. But refinements to the devices and the procedure itself (which is increasingly being done without general anesthesia) are driving a trend toward the use of TAVR in a broader group of people.  (Locked) More »

Sleep apnea solutions that lower cardiovascular risks

In obstructive sleep apnea, the tongue or throat tissue blocks the airway. This causes the person to briefly stop breathing many times a night. Sleep apnea also appears to raise the risk of cardiovascular problems. Therapies that help keep airways open during sleep, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), can improve quality of life and lower cardiovascular risks. (Locked) More »

Vanquishing varicose veins

Varicose veins that cause few symptoms may be controlled with exercise and support hose. They can be eradicated with new minimally invasive outpatient procedures. (Locked) More »

Cellphone safety with a pacemaker

People who have a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) should keep cellphones and smartphones at least five to seven inches away from the device. Doing so helps prevent the rare possibility of interference between the two devices. More »

Getting an MRI if you have a pacemaker

Most implanted cardiac devices (pacemakers and defibrillators) can be damaged by MRI scans. But special protocols and newer, MRI-friendly devices now allow some people with pacemakers to undergo MRI scanning when necessary. More »

Better health with smartphone apps

Downloadable software programs, or apps, for smartphones and tablet computers can help people monitor and improve their health. Apps collect information on the user that can be used to support healthy behaviors. Apps may also provide access to health information, such as healthy diets and workout routines. Some apps enable the user to share information with other users or with health care providers. Scientific proof that using apps actually improves health is sparse right now. They work best when the user is strongly motivated to change. (Locked) More »

How to choose and use a heart rate monitor

Heart rate monitors help people exercise at the right intensity, allowing them to safely reach their fitness goals. During an exercise session, healthy people should try to spend 20 minutes in their target range. Target heart rates range from 65% to 80% of the person’s maximum heart rate (220 minus age in years). Handgrip heart rate monitors found on fitness equipment may not be accurate; monitors with straps that circle the chest are a better choice. More advanced models offer programming options and additional data, but they aren’t needed to get a healthy workout.  (Locked) More »

The evolution of artery-opening stents

The tiny wire-mesh tubes called stents that prop open arteries cleared during an angioplasty have undergone a series of improvements since they were first developed 30 years ago. Early bare-metal stents were prone to clogging up, a problem known as restenosis. Drug-eluting stents prevented that problem but led to another: blood clot formation. Today’s third-generation stents address that issue but still require the use of blood-thinning drugs after a stent placement. Researchers are working on bioabsorbable stents that would gradually disappear and not require as much use of blood thinners.  (Locked) More »