Novadaq SPYs on Patient Health During Surgical Procedures

spinal-xrayHospital readmissions are both common and costly. A 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that about 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days, costing the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $17 billion per year. States including California and New Jersey have launched initiatives to reduce preventable readmissions in an effort to cut healthcare costs. Starting in 2013, healthcare organizations with high readmission rates will be penalized under national healthcare reform.

By having real-time patient data during a surgical procedure, surgeons may be able to catch and correct potential issues that could lead to complications and subsequent hospital readmission. This is especially important during coronary artery bypass surgery, a high-risk, invasive procedure that can lead to life-threatening complications if the graft isn’t functioning correctly following placement.

The process of fluoroscopy gives surgeons that real-time data. Fluoroscopy uses X-ray imaging technology to obtain continuous “live” images of a patient’s internal systems while they are functioning. The images are displayed on a monitor for physicians to view during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. Fluoroscopy can give physicians a clearer view of the patient’s system than a single X-ray image would. Fluoroscopic imaging may be used during a wide range of procedures, including catheter insertion during angioplasty or angiography, blood flow studies, colonoscopy, and orthopedic surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has more information on fluoroscopy here.

Novadaq Technologies (TSX: NDQ) develops and markets real-time fluorescence imaging technologies for use in the operating room. The company’s core technology platform, the SPY Imaging System, provides fluoroscopic images during open and minimally invasive surgical procedures. SPY imaging is cleared by the FDA for use during a variety of procedures, including coronary artery graft bypass surgery, cardiovascular surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and organ transplants. SPY imaging technology is installed in approximately 100 U.S. hospitals, and unlike other X-ray imaging systems, it does not use ionizing radiation–which may be a plus, given the FDA’s plans to crack down on unnecessary radiation exposure in medical imaging.

Novadaq reports that more than 30 peer-reviewed studies have found the SPY system to be effective at improving clinical outcomes. In August 2009, an independent study published by the  U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the use of SPY reduced hospital costs by $2000 to $4000 per procedure in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The reduction in costs was attributed to fewer postoperative complications and shorter hospital stays.

On August 23, the company announced that it had completed a final design review for the integration of its SPY technology into Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical Robotic System, fulfilling the final milestone in a licensing and development agreement with Intuitive. The completion of the final design review triggered a $500,000  final milestone payment from Intuitive to Novadaq. The da Vinci system is a leading platform for robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery.

The OneMedForum San Francisco 2011, to be held January 11-13, will feature an innovative lineup of medical device, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and information technology companies that are poised to change the future of healthcare. Novadaq is just one of the companies scheduled to present at the conference. To find out more about the OneMedForum San Francisco 2011, visit

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