After finding issues delivering stents during endovascular surgery, former head surgeon Krister Liungman, founder and innovation lead at Endovab, developed an idea to make the process more straightforward.
Ten years ago, patients who needed their Aortic Aneurysms repaired were performed by surgeons made the change from open surgery to endovascular surgery due to the high risks for the patient to get infections whilst being operated on plus the long recovery time, the new technology with radiology and medical products meant that endovascular surgery was able to be established.
It was now possible to have a patient that may have had a higher mortality chance in an operation to have a catheter inserted in a vein and then you can use a guidewire to pass a stent into the position where the aneurism needed to be repaired. This meant that it was no longer required to open the patient but with the use of x-ray you could see inside the body.
This meant that the time the patient was supposed to be in an operation was reduced, resulting in safer surgery. However, nothing is always straightforward which is when Krister Liungman, who had worked as a head surgeon for 20 years in Uppsala Hospital, Sweden with open surgery, started with endovascular surgery and found an issue with the guidewire that was used in delivering the stents.
The guidewire is not flexible, you can puncture an organ and he felt the most frustrating thing about this piece of equipment was that when you think you have it in the right place and you are wanting to deliver the stent it moves and you have to start the whole relocation again.
Liungman spent 12 hours with his first operation with a patient on the table and this was the point he realised that there needed to be an anchor system so you locate the right place and you can then distally secure it in the correct location.
Also 30% of aneurysms are complicated and the were made possible with fenestrated EVAR and this is why the anchor was invented, but in a wider perspective the anchor can revolutionise the endovascular area.
With any medical technology and invention it inevitably took time and lots of money, Liungman set out on a journey of how could he create the right product so he set off with many drawings and to find the right partner that could produce a protype plus that would be great at supporting and giving advice.
Once this started to take shape then the re-equipment for patenting the product was important as well as finding financial backing. To be able to fund an idea like this Liungman was awarded with a grant from the Swedish innovation system.
There were also many animal studies completed and patient operations so there was the right data in place for the regulatory requirements for patient use.
Fast forward 10 years and nearly €2 million the product exists as Liungman Guidewire Fixator, there is a global patent family, it was awarded its CE mark in 2020 and there are products sitting in Uppsala, Sweden ready to help an Endovascular surgeon perform safer surgery.