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Taking the Open out of Open Heart Surgery

Wed Sep 27 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Some things just don’t seem to change. One of the biggest challenges facing hospitals now is one that has challenged us for centuries: infection. Having lost my Dad to MRSA, a drug resistant superbug that lurks in hospitals, picked up during a simple procedure, I like to look at procedures and ask why they cannot be done with the smallest of incision and limited time of exposure. Since I like a challenge, I asked myself how could we do open heart surgery without the “open” part.

For the sake of simplicity, consider open heart surgery for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). You could be a relatively healthy person impacted by genetics and need this procedure. But no matter how healthy you are, having your chest cracked open and your heart exposed can create significant risk, not to mention significant recovery time. But what if there was another way; a way to perform a CABG without opening the chest?

This is why my role as Business Unit Director for Jabil’s medical division, Nypro, is so exciting. I am constantly exposed to new technology and innovation that allows my mind to race with their endless possibilities and benefits. Endoscopic technology has been around since the 1950s and is highly beneficial for patient outcome due to its minimally invasive nature. Add in advanced HD cameras and miniaturization of electronics on the distal end (fancy word for end into the body) and you have a tool that should allow surgeons to perform a CABG without opening the patient’s chest like you are de-shelling a lobster.

There is a lot of construction needed to make that bypass effective. Like building a bypass on an interstate, you must shut off one area and build another. So, what technology exists today that might allow for construction without destruction? Imagine, big leap here but stick with me, you could 3D print a bypass using injected material and manipulate it with ultrasonic technology or perhaps magnets where needed. That’s right, 3D printing inside the body!

You could create your bypass without the need for opening the chest and exposing the patient to the environment. You could send a patient home sooner and with decreased risk of blood clots, nerve damage and of course diminished MRSA potential.

This is of course all blue sky thinking, but if we look at today’s challenges and ask ourselves how we can apply current enabling technology, perhaps the solution is closer than we think. We love this kind of creativity at Jabil. In fact, we named our Silicon Valley development and rapid prototyping site Blue Sky. That’s where great ideas come to life. Part of that is Radius Innovation & Development at the ideation and prototype phase, our advanced manufacturing team at the industrialization phase and our supply chain team at the fulfilment phase.

Get creative, get inspired and get moving toward making the world a better place. What’s next? You tell me, let your imagination run wild!!