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Imaginations of the Future

By Daniel Foster07 Jun 2024

Transonic’s founder, Cor Drost, emigrated from Holland on a research grant with Cornell University. Forty years later, we produce the most precise, accurate ultrasound flow measurement equipment on the market, but it was a stroke of brilliant imagination that made it happen: turning a rough industrial technology into a cutting-edge medical application. It was akin to redesigning a blacksmith’s hammer and anvil to craft silicon microchips.

As a secondary result, we take interest in continued work at Cornell, such as elastic cardiac catheter baskets. First, a little background: the heart functions by electrical impulses, keeping all four chambers contracting in proper sequence, timing, and with the proper pressure, as the body demands. As with all physiologic systems of this complexity, problems occur. Arrythmias, for example.  

Arrythmia is exactly what its name implies “without rhythm.” In cardiac context, this has been historically corrected by catheter imaging and ablation (destruction of misfiring cells). The catheter is inserted through the groin and then guided through the patient’s vascular system until it enters the heart. From there, the catheter can photograph the heart’s electrical activity, allowing for identification and elimination of the cells that aren’t functioning properly.

The success of this method has been spotty. The best a catheter can offer is a string of snapshots. Obviously, freezeframes can be misleading when describing a continuously dynamic system, especially one as complex as bioelectrical propagation. So, more than half of these “cured” arrythmias return in a year’s time.

Basket catheters were an improvement, allowing a more comprehensive look at the heart’s surfaces and activity, thereby offering better targeting (in theory.) But the heart’s interior isn’t smooth and round like the inside of a basketball. Much like the emotional complexities we ascribe to the human heart, the organ itself is full of nooks and hidden places.

Enter Cornell researchers and NHLBI funding. Though their invention looks and functions like a basket catheter, it so thoroughly improves the technology that it probably deserves a new name. Instead of standard surgical steel mesh, Cornell’s version is made of saline-inflatable medical plastic. Because of its great elasticity, it can accommodate the surface variances of the heart’s atria, giving a more comprehensive picture than ever before.

It becomes a catheter as unique as your heart.

The potential applications stretch far and wide, up to robotics that could eventually allow the catheter to manage its own shape.

We’ve worked in heart health for over 40 years, and we’re thrilled with the limitless potential of this new approach. Afterall, we’re built from innovation at Cornell, the same as this new catheter.

That’s the power of a great idea...

...It’s as unlimited as your imagination.

Thanks for reading,

               Transonic Systems, Inc.

                              The Measure of Better Results


Stretchable electronics to map the inside of the heart? It’s not from a movie | NHLBI, NIH