A young medtech company called Visura Technologies, based outside of Chicago, won FDA clearance for its TEE Camera Assist Device, TEECAD for short. The device is designed to be connected to a transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) ultrasound probe, letting the physician see the upper airway and esophagus while navigating the probe toward its destination.
TEE procedures are used to image the heart and nearby anatomy in high quality, since a probe placed in the esophagus is much closer to the heart. Getting there, though, is sometime a challenge, particularly in overweight and older patients, and in patients with esophageal problems, such as varices.
While video laryngoscopes have been around for a while, TEE probes go in “blind,” and physicians have to have expertise in ensuring safe passage of the probe into the esophagus.
The TEECAD makes things easier by giving a real-time view of the pathway. “TEE related complications and failed intubations can be dangerous for patients and have costly ramifications for hospitals,” said Visura Founder Dr. David Marmor. “The recent proliferation of catheter-based structural heart interventions reliant on TEE imaging has led to growth in procedural volume and an increase in the age and risk profile of patients, increasing the need for visual guidance for safe TEE probe intubation. We look forward to clinically introducing our device.”
The TEECAD camera is single use and disposable, so for every patient a new one is used, avoiding any cross contamination. The display system is reusable, thankfully, and is designed to be attached to standard rolling carts.
So far, the device works with the Philips X7-2t probe, but plans are in the works to expand it to be compatible with other TEE ultrasound probes.