Radiometer Supports Humanitarian Mission to Ethiopia
Despite a lack of equipment and supplies and a difference in electrical power ratings, a team of health professionals using Radiometer America’s ABL70 Series point-of-care blood gas analyzer performed 18 open-heart procedures in a 2-week period in a country experiencing “brain drain”—talented medical professionals are leaving the country because of better economic opportunities abroad.

d03a.jpg (13484 bytes)ABL70 Series blood gas analyzer

The volunteers from the Ethiopian North American Health Pro-fessionals Association (ENAHPA), an organization comprised of medical professionals from the United States, Canada, and Ethiopia, performed the operations in an improvised operating theater at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. In many instances, the group was forced to fabricate or reengineer equipment or modify procedures to overcome these obstacles.

“We were able to adapt the ABL70 to the local power source by using a transformer, and it worked without any problems,” says Jim Pezzuto, MBA, RT(R), CCP, an ENAHPA delegate and staff perfusionist with Fresenius Medical Care, Extracorporeal Alliance, San Diego. “The analyzer was dependable, easy to set up, and simple to maintain in both surgical and postoperative settings. Test results were continuously stable, which gave us confidence that we were providing excellent patient care.”

d03a.jpg (13484 bytes)Rob Deyell, CCP, was part of the team in Ethiopia that performed 130 surgical procedures in October.

Radiometer America, based in Westlake, Ohio, donated the analyzer for use by the 40 delegates who participated in the humanitarian mission, undertaken in October 2003. Altogether, 130 open-heart and other surgical procedures—which included pacemaker, laparoscopic, maxillary/sinus, and general surgeries—were performed.

ENAHPA plans to return on a similar mission to Ethiopia in October 2004 and within the next 5 years hopes to build a cardiac center in Ethiopia where local professionals can be trained to perform open-heart and pacemaker surgery.

Companies Team to Provide SpO2 Monitoring Technology
d03c.jpg (15681 bytes)Masimo SET is now the sole SpO2 monitoring technology of Tosca™, a system that provides continuous monitoring of transcutaneous PCO2, SpO2, and pulse rate through a single heated sensor, and Masimo Corp, Irvine, Calif, is now the sole US distributor of the system. This comes as a result of two long-term agreements between Masimo and the makers of Tosca, Linde Medical Sensors AG, Basel, Switzerland. With Masimo SET technology, Tosca reportedly delivers accurate SpO2 readings in conditions of motion, poor perfusion, and other low signal to noise conditions.

A recent study performed at Columbia University supports this assertion. The researchers compared data reliability and availability provided by Masimo SET V2 and a competitor’s product during conditions of active sleep and excessive motion of neonates during and after circumcision. The researchers reported that Masimo SET had at least two to five times less artifact and in some conditions more than 50 times less artifact than the competition. The study was published in the November 2003 issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Edition.

In other Masimo news, the company recently became a corporate partner with the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). The AARC says the corporate partner program includes best-in-class organizations interested in supporting the goals and work of the association.

Restless Legs Syndrome Drug Moves Closer to Approval
The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) from GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle, NC, for a drug designed to treat the rare sleep disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs and painful or distressing sensations in the legs during rest. If approved, the drug, called Requip® (ropinirole HCl), will become the first and only drug indicated for the treatment of restless legs syndrome in the United States, according to GlaxoSmithKline.

The sNDA for Requip is supported by data including three 12-week double-blind studies. In two of the studies, Requip significantly improved symptoms of RLS and was generally well tolerated. The third study showed that Requip significantly reduced periodic leg movements of sleep, a primary motor symptom associated with this disorder that contributes to the sleep disturbances seen in RLS. The most commonly reported adverse events with Requip in these studies were nausea, headache, and vomiting.

Currently, Requip is approved by the FDA and marketed for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

DeVilbiss FlexAire Mask Gets Innovation Award
The DeVilbiss FlexAire mask by Sunrise Medical, Longmont, Colo, received the Most Innovative New Product of the Year award at Medtrade 2003 in Atlanta in October. The annual award—given by VNU Expositions, the Roswell, Ga-based show organizer for Medtrade—is chosen by popular ballot. It recognizes state-of-the-art design, quality, and innovative use of technology in the home medical equipment marketplace. The FlexAire Mask, released in August 2003, is engineered to fit a wider array of facial profiles to improve patient compliance while enhancing business efficiency for dealers and laboratories.

Bill Distinguishes RPSGTs From Respiratory Therapists
d03d.jpg (14835 bytes)In what the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists (APT) called a positive move, a New Jersey bill (S2749) that differentiates the practice of polysomnography from the practice of respiratory care passed through the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee with two changes on December 15.

The bill would negate a restriction under the state’s “Respiratory Care Practitioners Licensing Act”—scheduled to go into effect on April 30, 2006—that prohibits registered poly-somnographic technologists (RPSGTs) from practicing without a respiratory care license.

As amended by committee, S2749 permits RPSGTs or trainees to practice in state-licensed health care facilities or sleep programs accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It also specifies that an RPSGT must be under the direct supervision of a New Jersey-licensed physician during the monitoring, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, management, and research of sleep and waking disorders, and that a polysomnographic trainee only shall work under the direct supervision of a polysomnographic technologist, rather than under the direct supervision of a technologist or technician.

The full Senate and General Assembly will not take any action in 2003, making it necessary for the bill to be reintroduced during the 2004-2005 legislative session. The legislation will have a new number and will have to be voted upon again by the Senate committee.

“The good news is that the Senate Health Committee is on record for supporting the bill, which means that the committee members consider polysomnography a distinct profession from respiratory therapy,” says Pamela Phillips, APT government affairs specialist. The APT supports exempting RPSGTs from provisions in all similar respiratory care acts nationwide through adoption of appropriate state legislation.

Sleep Organizations Unite
The Association of Polysomnographic Technologists (APT) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), Westchester, Ill, have joined forces under a new management contract. The APT says its membership now will have a larger voice in the medical and political spheres as the organization joins more than 7,000 other clinicians, technicians, and researchers currently managed by the AASM.

“The board of directors believes the AASM is the best management option for our association because of their measured success in the management of allied sleep-related organizations and the opportunities for synergy among these organizations,” says APT President Rose Ann Zumstein, RPSGT.

APT headquarters have relocated to Westchester. The APT Web site,, remains the same.