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St. Jude wins approval for game-changing device that saves lives, costs

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The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday gave Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical approval for a wireless heart monitoring system.

The Star Tribune reports that after getting the go-ahead, the company said it will pay an additional $375 million to take full ownership of CardioMEMS, the Atlanta company that developed the system. St. Jude, which describes the monitoring system as “game-changing technology,” said it expects to close on the deal in the second quarter of this year.

Reuters explained that the wireless heart device, about the size of a dime, is of critical benefit to patients with heart failure. The device, which can be permanently implanted, records pulmonary artery pressure from a patient's home and transmits it to physicians, who monitor it remotely. It allows providers to actively manage rising blood pressure in the artery — a warning sign that often starts before other more commonly tracked indicators can be noted. Monitoring the activity remotely can reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

More than 5 million Americans have heart failure, which is among the most common reasons for hospitalizations for people over 65.

St. Jude spent $60 million for a 19 percent share of CardioMEMS in September 2010, with an exclusive option to purchase the remaining 81 percent for $375 million.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that CardioMEMS was founded in 2001 by Georgia cardiologist Jay Yadav and Mark Allen, a Georgia Tech nanotechnology professor. It quickly grew from a small office to a large laboratory and now has 98 employees. It will remain in Atlanta.

“St. Jude is a great company,” Yadav told the Atlanta newspaper. “They’ve got very strong network. This will be a great way to get it (device) out to the largest number of patients and doctors.”

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