Home » Innovations » How Medtech Could Help Improve Patient Outcomes
Gabriel Georges

Gabriel Georges

Co-Founder, Puzzle Medical Devices

Stuart Kozlick

Stuart Kozlick

CEO, Puzzle Medical Devices

With a rapidly changing medical technology environment, Canadians are accessing innovative solutions that improve their overall wellness outcomes. Heart failure patients are no exception.

Can you comment on the burden of disease for heart failure patients and the potential role of remote monitoring to alleviate this burden?

An estimated 26 million patients suffer from heart failure worldwide, resulting in a global spending of 108 B$ in heart failure patient care. Prevalence of heart failure in Canada is estimated at 600 000 cases, with 50 000 new patients diagnosed every year and 482 M$ related to heart failure hospital stays. Heart failure spending is mostly driven by patient hospitalization and readmission. While tremendous improvements in heart failure therapy have been achieved in the recent years, very little progress has been made in post-discharge mortality and readmission rates.

The implementation of promising remote monitoring programs could prevent recurrent hospitalizations through early detection of acute decompensations, before it’s too late. Acquisition of relevant and reliable data from patients at home is the biggest challenge being faced. The heterogenicity of data collection methods and parameters in different trials have led to diverging opinions on the relevance of remote patient monitoring. Overall, telemonitoring appears to be effective in reducing readmissions and mortality.

Are there any key gaps in heart health that can be addressed with innovative technologies?

Technological improvements in continuous vital sign monitoring such as wearable wireless epidermal sensors would facilitate patient monitoring and increase patient compliance to home monitoring programs. 

Patients with end-stage heart failure who are refractory to medical therapy need mechanical hemodynamic support. Current heart pumps that attach to a patient’s heart to promote blood flow are extremely costly and require open-heart surgery, making them a seldom used therapy. There is thus a tremendous unmet need for a minimally invasive solution to chronically support end-stage heart failure.

Can you comment on the emergence of minimally invasive heart pumps and how they can be used to improve outcomes for patients? 

Recently minimally invasive devices have been developed to provide blood circulation support without increased procedural risks. However, in order to provide the required outflow, these smaller pumps are operated at high rotational speeds leading to significant blood damage. The high shear stress rapidly destroys essential blood elements which precludes their use beyond the acute setting. Puzzle Medical Devices Inc., a Canadian MedTech start-up, develops the first long-term hemodynamic support which is assembled inside the patient using a proprietary transcatheter technology. Puzzle Medical Devices Inc. aims at improving patient quality of life and reducing the global economic burden related to heart failure.

Next article