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Doctor Invents Device to Improve Less Invasive Surgery Technique

An Indian-American doctor has invented a device to help prevent complications connected with a type of surgery used to treat heart disease.

Pennsylvania-based Dr. Samir Pancholy developed the device, known as the VasoBand, to reduce complications when radial artery catheterization is performed, a less invasive technique compared to femoral artery catheterization, which is used to explore the heart as well in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Pennsylvania-based Dr. Samir Pancholy, who invented a device to help patients who need catheters. Courtesy of Dr. Samir Pancholy

"The femoral artery is prone to complicate and bleed because it is high-pressured and large, no matter how precise we are able to puncture it without damaging anything," Pancholy told NBC News. "It causes the patient a lot of problems with bleeding, transfusions, and a need for surgery to fix the groin for the artery."

Pancholy learned about the radial artery procedure, which goes through the wrist as opposed to the groin, after a visit to India in 2002. Once back in the United States, he began teaching other doctors the technique, but it wasn't without its complications.

He explained that most patients who experience these kind of procedures have coronary artery disease, a very common heart disease in major blood vessels. "It is a progressive disease. It tends to worsen over the years slowly if you're lucky and rapidly if you're not," Pancholy said.

"We were able to do more than eighty percent of our procedures through the wrist and subsequently it eliminated the problem of bleeding and patients were loving it," Pancholy said. But because the radial artery is smaller, it "occluded," or closed, after the procedure in some patients, becoming unusable.

Courtesy of Times Tribune/Kevin O'Neill, Staff Artist

Pancholy shifted his focus to researching the mechanism of radial artery occlusion. In March 2015, he started a company with a group of medical researchers called VasoInnovations Inc. to improve surgical vascular outcomes. The company developed a plastic band with two balloon bladders, which when applied to the forearm, compressed the radial artery to stop bleeding as well as another artery to increase and maintain blood flow, preventing the radial artery from closing.

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A clinical trial in the Czech Republic and India found that the device lowered the rick of occlusion by 70 percent. In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted patents to Pancholy and his co-inventors, and the device is now being manufactured.

"It is a simple gadget that is based on the principle of physiology which makes it contribute to some very important work," Pancholy said. "It does not involve any major technology like MRI; it lowers the risks of major life complications."

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