ClearGlide® Eases the "Other Half" of Heart Bypass Surgery

A successful heart bypass operation involves not one but two surgeries. A healthy blood vessel is used to bypass the damaged or blocked artery in the heart. And that healthy vessel must be removed from the patient—most often from the leg, but sometimes from the arm or chest.

Alan Lumsden, MD

Endoscopic vessel harvesting techniques allow less invasive harvesting of suitable vessels for use in coronary artery bypass grafting, and have been steadily replacing traditional methods since the early 1990s. In endoscopic surgery, a special instrument is connected to a video camera and inserted through a small incision in the leg. The endoscope is used to view the saphenous vein and allows the surgeon to remove the vein with minimal stress to the leg.

Traditional harvesting can cause significant pain during recovery and leave a large scar that may run the full length of the patient's leg or forearm. In addition, the large incision that is required has a high rate of complications.

ClearGuide®, endoscopic surgery devices that allow for harvesting through a single, small leg incision, was invented by Alan B. Lumsden, MD, who served as Chief of the Vascular Surgery Service at Emory from 1997 to 2001. Lumsden was responsible for the expansion of the Non-Invasive Vascular Laboratory, the Venous Clinic, and the Endovascular Service. Lumsden is now Chief, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute. He is also a co-founder and co-director of Pumps & Pipes, a forum that examines similarities between the medical and energy industries to discover technologies that can be used in both industries.

Felmont Eaves, MD

In 2012, Felmont Eaves, MD, ClearGuide®co-inventor and plastic surgeon at the Emory School of Medicine, got a call from his father. His mother had just undergone an urgent cardiac bypass surgery. She was doing well, his father reassured him, thanks to ClearGuide®, which had been used in her surgery. Knowing that the device he co-invented had been instrumental to saving his mother's life was moving for Eaves. "It's a really great feeling to see that when you do these types of things, it does have human impact," said Eaves.

Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials comparing endoscopic vessel harvesting performed with the ClearGlide® vessel harvesting system to traditional "open vessel" harvesting techniques have shown the endoscopic approach to be associated with fewer wound complications and less trauma.

Datascope Corporation, a medical device company, purchased the rights to ClearGlide® in 2006. Sorin Group acquired the rights to ClearGlide® in 2009.

Clearglide Device

"After conclusion in 2008 of our divestiture program, this transaction is a first step towards reinforcing our leading cardiac surgery franchises. This acquisition will be particularly exciting for Sorin Group's United States business as it will reinforce our product offering and consolidate our position as the leading provider of innovative solutions for the cardiac surgery clinical community, " said Andre-Michel Ballester, chief executive officer of the Sorin Group.

In the years since Lumsden and Eaves worked together on ClearGuide®, their paths diverged as they pursued other endeavors and opportunities. Recently the two coincidentally ran into each other at a meeting in San Francisco, and finally got a chance to catch up. In a move that brings their collaboration full circle, Eaves has recruited Lumsden to be on the advisory board of a current project he is working on.