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NewSplash Archive – May 2017

Issue 21 – 5/30
Researchers grow human blood stem cells in lab for the first time
Researchers at the Harvard Medical School have grown human blood stem cells in a laboratory for the first time. These stem cells may one day be used to treat blood diseases and leukemia from a patient’s own cells instead of using bone marrow transplants from a donor.

Warm weather increases risk of surgical site infections
A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, shows that surgical site infections are seasonal, increasing in the summer and decreasing in winter. According to the study, when temperatures are above 90°F, there is a 28.9% increased risk of hospitalization with a surgical site infection compared to temperatures below 40°F.

Q&A: Sterile processing interview with Chuck Hughes
Recently, Infection Control Today conducted an interview with Chuck Hughes, founder of SPSmedical Supply Corp. Chuck has more than 30 years’ experience in healthcare. He has spoken at conferences, contributed to national standards on medical device reprocessing, and provided mock surveys to hundreds of healthcare facilities around the world.

FDA authorizes new device to treat esophageal birth defect in infants
Cook Medical has received FDA authorization for its first-of-a-kind Flourish Pediatric Esophageal Atresia Anastomosis device to treat infants up to one year old for a birth defect that causes a gap in their esophagus. The device uses magnets to pull the upper and lower esophagus together, providing a nonsurgical method for doctors close the gap and form a connection.

Baking soda shortage causes surgery and chemotherapy delays
The country’s two suppliers of sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, have run out, causing hospitals to stockpile the drug. Sodium bicarbonate is a hospital staple that is used to treat patients whose blood is too acidic, whose organs are failing, or some forms of chemotherapy, and more.

FDA clears Merck’s Keytruda cancer drug based on genetics, not cancer type
Merck’s immunotherapy drug Keytruda became the first cancer drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on a patient’s genetic traits, regardless of where the disease originated in the body. This approval marks a major step forward in precision medicine, where genetic biomarkers may determine the therapy instead of the type of cancer.

Vote! IAHCSMM conducts new election for 2017 president-elect
Voting in the new election for IAHCMM 2017 president-elect is still open, so be sure to cast your ballot before voting concludes on June 7.

Google and University of Chicago Medicine to study patient records to predict health
Recently, Google announced that it is teaming up with University of Chicago Medicine to research ways to use the myriad information contained in patients’ electronic medical records to predict future health. Researchers hope to be able to predict medical events, such as whether someone will be hospitalized, the length of hospitalization, and whether a patient’s health is deteriorating.


Issue 20 – 5/23
IAHCSMM 2017 expo recap, part 2
The IAHCSMM 2017 Conference & Expo recently concluded in Nashville. It was a great show with more than 1,400 attendees, making this the largest IAHCSMM show ever. In the second installment of our IAHCSMM 2017 highlights recap, we hear from Damien Berg, SPD manager at St. Anthony Hospital; Dan Gusanders, president of Pure Processing; and Danielle Green, manager of business development at Microsystems.

Shockwave Medical received CE mark for sound wave lithoplasty balloon
Shockwave Medical recently received a CE mark for their Coronary Lithoplasty System that is used alongside stenting in the treatment of coronary artery disease. The system combines balloon angioplasty used to widen narrowed arteries with lithotripsy, which is the use of ultrasound waves typically used to break up kidney stones

Olympus releases new EndoTherapy tools
At the Digestive Disease Week conference in Chicago, Olympus unveiled several new endoscopic therapeutic devices. The SB Knife Monopolar ESD (Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection) Knife with two new sphincterotomes that allow the physician to perform en-bloc resection of larger lesions, helping the patient avoid open surgery.

Blame Florida? IAHCSMM conducts new election for 2017 president-elect
Voting recently closed for the election of IAHCSMM 2017 president-elect, but there was a problem: none of the three candidates received a majority of the vote. IAHCSMM bylaws state that when three candidates run for office, voters will be asked to designate their first, second, and third choices.

Molecular slingshot delivers drugs with precision
An international team of researchers has developed a nanoscale molecular slingshot that delivers drugs to precise locations in the human body when it is triggered by specific disease markers. The slingshot is made of DNA that is 20,000 times smaller than a human hair.

Prosthetic hand that sees being trialed
Biomedical engineers at Newcastle University have developed a prosthetic hand fitted with a camera that will allow the wearer to reach for objects automatically without thinking, much like a real hand. The camera takes a photo of the object in front of it, assesses the size and shape, and triggers a series of movements in the hand, bypassing the process that requires the user to see the object and physically stimulate the muscles to trigger a movement.

Distinguished Colorado State professor reflects on 5 decades of discovery
Colorado State University professor Dr. Edward Hoover has been named to the National Academy of Inventors. In his career, he has become a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor, a National Academy of Sciences Fellow, inventor of the feline leukemia vaccine, founder of the CSU Prion Research Center, and has earned 20 patents.


Issue 19 – 5/16
IAHCSMM 2017 expo recap, part 1
The IAHCSMM 2017 Conference & Expo recently concluded in Nashville. It was a great show with more than 1,400 attendees, making this the largest IAHCSMM show ever. Over the next two issues of NewSplash, we will recap some highlights from the expo, which featured more educational opportunities than ever.

Researchers may have discovered new class of anti-TB drugs
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infects a third of the world’s population and kills roughly 1.8 million people annually, making it one of the leading causes of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Resistance to the two first-line anti-TB drugs, rifampin and isoniazid, is growing and has made TB a public health threat.

10 hepatitis C patients cured after receiving kidney transplants from infected donors
For many hepatitis C patients, wait times for kidney transplants can exceed three years, yet every year more than 500 high-quality kidneys from deceased donors infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are discarded. Direct-acting antiviral agents, associated with high cure rates and manageable side effects, have created the potential to increase the number of kidney transplants by making HCV-infected kidneys available to HCV-negative candidates on the waiting list.

Clemson program aims to design safer medical devices
Complex medical instruments can be difficult to properly sterilize, which can lead to the spread of infection. The FDA has issued alerts about duodenoscopes because the way they were designed leaves them resistant to conventional cleaning methods.

Smartphone-controlled cells manage insulin
For those with diabetes, frequent checking of blood sugar level and injecting themselves with insulin to manage their blood sugar level is, at best, inconvenient. Researchers from China and Switzerland have genetically engineered human cells that produce and deliver insulin when illuminated by far-red light, as used in therapy bulbs and infrared saunas.

New integration aims to improve visibility in surgical tracking and loaner tray management
Becton, Dickinson and Company announced the integration between their IMPRESS instrument-management system and UniteOR’s cloud-based surgical tray tracking and vendor management solution that enables greater visibility of surgical tray management to healthcare workers in the OR and sterile processing department. The joint integration will share surgery case and procedure-specific information between the UniteOR and IMPRESS platforms, including vendor tray requirements for surgical procedures, IFU documentation, and expected delivery time to the facility.

Abbott debuts first smartphone-compatible insertable cardiac monitor
Abbott announced the debut of the new Confirm Rx Insertable Cardiac Monitor, a smartphone-compatible monitor that helps physicians detect cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, and guide therapy. The Confirm Rx ICM is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart rhythm and transmit information via a smartphone app, allowing doctors to remotely follow their patients and accurately diagnose arrhythmias.

COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency cleared by FDA to manage osteoarthritis knee pain
Those suffering chronic knee pain wait an average of nine years until they are ready or qualify for surgery, which necessitates an awful lot of pain management, often from opioids or steroid injections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Halyard Health’s COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency thermal treatment for the relief of chronic moderate to severe knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. COOLIEF is described by Halyard Health as, “…a minimally invasive thermal radiofrequency pain-management system that uses water-cooled technology to safely deactivate pain-causing sensory nerves.”


Issue 18 – 5/9
New antibiotic wound cover could prevent thousands of infections
Researchers from Lodz University of Technology in Poland have developed a wound dressing that incorporates hydrogel. When providing moisture to the wound, the hydrogel dressing can accelerate healing and cool the wound.

The state of sterile processing
Infection Control Today released its 2017 Sterile Processing State of the Industry Report that analyzes results from an online survey of sterile processing professionals, the latest trends, and studies related to reprocessing performance and patient safety.

Scientists look to medieval texts for new antibiotics
The lack of new antibiotics combined with the evolution of antibiotic-resistant microbes means scientists need to take a fresh look into new sources for antibiotics. That search has resulted in the Ancientbiotics team, a group of medievalists, microbiologists, medicinal chemists, parasitologists, pharmacists, and data scientists, who are looking to the past to inform the future.

Medicare launches Hospital Care website 
Through their efforts with Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), Medicare launched Hospital Care, a consumer-oriented website that provides information on how well hospitals provide recommended care to their patients. Hospital Care is designed to help consumers make informed decisions about where to go for healthcare.

European Union clears Intuitive Surgical’s new da Vinci X 
Intuitive Surgical recently received European regulatory approval for its new da Vinci X robotic surgical system, designed for customers who can’t afford the top-of-the-line da Vinci Xi system.

First Alzheimer’s patient treated with focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier
Scientists with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center at the University of Toronto made history when they used focused ultrasound on an Alzheimer’s patient to safely and noninvasively breach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to allow potentially therapeutic drug treatments to be properly tested. The BBB is protective barrier that surrounds the tiniest blood vessels in the brain and prevents passage of proteins and potentially toxic substances from entering the brain from the bloodstream.


Issue 17 – 5/2
Almost untreatable CPE superbug serious threat to patients
An almost untreatable superbug called carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) is immune to some of the last line of antibiotics available to hospitals and poses a serious threat to patients. According to Public Health England, there were three lab-confirmed cases in 2003 to nearly 2,000 in 2015, but that figure may be far short of the real number because hospitals are not compelled to report suspected cases.

Laser-treated graphene circuits push stem cells to differentiate into neural Schwann cells
Schwann cells surround neural axons and can help regrow damaged or diseased nerves, potentially restoring movement to arms and legs, making them important targets for stem cell therapy. Differentiating these cells has been difficult but researchers at Iowa State University have discovered a technique that will allow for mass production of Schwann cells.

3D printed patches seeded with cells repair cardiac tissues after heart attacks
Researchers have developed a technique for 3D printing cardiac patches seeded with living cells that may be effecting at helping to restore the heart following a heart attack, as it isn’t able to restore lost cells on its own. The patch is structurally based on how proteins naturally assemble in cardiac tissue.

CDC still unsure of source of polio-like illness
Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare illness that can affect anyone. The illness attacks the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, inflicting weakness in the limbs and paralysis.

3D printed cartilage mimics strength, flexibility of knee’s meniscus
Worn out cartilage in the knees is a major contributor to disability, and there really is no suitable replacement. Researchers at Duke University have created a material that can serve as a replacement for cartilage that’s at least as strong and pliable as the cartilage making up the knee’s meniscus.

Infection Control Today Q&A
This issue we’re taking a look at a question submitted to Infection Control Today regarding chemical high-level disinfection documentation, answered by Nancy Chobin, RN, AAS, ACSP, CSPM, CFER.