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ST. Louis Post-Dispatch reports: Surgery here will play on Web site

Dr. Juan Parodi, on left, listens as his colleague, Dr. Luis Sanchez narrates the activity on the screen of their surgical procedure. (KAREN ELSHOUT/P-D)
By Judith VandeWater
Wednesday, Sep. 28 2005 delivers reality programming that's heavy on science and light on
human drama.

But that approach appeals to doctors and motivated patients - the ideal targets
for marketers of hospitals and medical devices.

The Web site, devoted to surgical videos, is a product of slp3D Healthcast
Network. Its first St. Louis-based program airs at 3 p.m. Friday. The
pre-recorded debut features two Washington University surgeons, who teamed up
earlier this month on the nation's first two aortic abdominal graft repairs,
using a new device made by Cook Group Inc.

The St. Louis video is Cook's initial foray into open access, online surgical
demonstrations. It won't be the last.

"We see this as the future," said Ray Leonard, a senior product manager for

The company, the world's largest privately owned maker of medical devices, paid
for the video production. Leonard said its sales force will trumpet the video's
on-demand availability on the Cook and OR-Live Web sites.

"That's part of the beauty of this technology," he said. "You can sit down at
your computer and watch it at your leisure."

Leonard was in the BJC HealthCare studio in the Central West End last Friday as
Drs. Luis A. Sanchez and Juan C. Parodi, Washington University vascular
surgeons at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, did voice-over narration of the procedures
they performed in mid-September.

A repair stent wrapped around a catheter is inserted through a small incision
in the groin. An invitation-only Web audience of surgeons followed the progress
on an X-ray image. The visual was reinforced with graphics and cartoons.

Although this procedure is bloodless, many of the 200-plus surgeries in the
OR-Live portfolio are not for the squeamish.

People come to the Web site to see streaming video of live surgery, and they
expect an unblinking view, said Dan Aitchison, regional sales director for
slp3D, which is based in Hartford, Conn.

Most crews use a camera mounted on a boom over the surgery table. Producers
stand prepared to cut away to a moderator or a graphic during live broadcasts.
"If a patient's safety or security were involved, we would knock the cameras
away," Aitchison said.

The hospitals or device makers that pay $40,000 to $50,000 for the programming
select patients with a high likelihood of a good and predictable outcome.

"We are not talking about patients who are gravely ill," Aitchison said.
"Thankfully, we've never had a catastrophe."

The company employs its own producers and hires camera crews with surgical
experience, said Alex Fraser, director of marketing for slp3D. "The last thing
you want is the camera guy passing out as the surgeon makes the first incision."

OR-Live's audience varies with its programming. Fraser said highly technical
interventions and innovative procedures appeal to doctors, nurses and other
medical professionals. Most of the programs provide continuing medical
education credits. Hospital-sponsored programs are geared to consumers.

For example, a live Caesarean section performed Friday at a hospital in
Hartford attracted women who might be candidates for the procedure.

The device showcased in St. Louis is the first Food and Drug
Administration-approved product to repair failing abdominal aortic aneurysm
grafts, Leonard said.

In an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the largest blood vessel in the body weakens
and bulges. The most common site is behind or below the belly button. A rupture
can be fatal.

Washington University's Parodi invented the closed-abdomen repair in the 1980s
in his native Argentina. In the early 1990s, he reported the results of human
trials, and late that decade several medical-device companies were selling
abdominal stents.

Sanchez said that in about 2 percent to 10 percent of patients, a stent will
shift, exposing the aneurysm and putting the patient at heightened risk. Cook's
product, the Zenith Renu AAA Ancillary Graft, deploys small barbs that attach
to the artery wall beneath the renal arteries and above the failed graft.

"This can work, and we need it," Parodi said.

Medical Information
The information provided on this site is presented for educational purposes. It is intended to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.

This website is owned and operated by OR-Live, Inc. OR-Live, Inc. is not a health care provider and does not provide medical diagnosis or treatment. OR-Live, Inc. only provides visitors to the site with referrals to medical facilities and health care providers that may be able to assist them in their medical needs. OR-Live, Inc. has not conducted an independent investigation or performed other due diligence functions with regard to the health care providers or medical facilities to which the referrals are made.

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