Catheter accesses hard-to-reach areas.

Press Release Summary:

Consisting of several hair-thin, stainless steel strands braided together, Asahi Tornus® delivers therapeutic, minimally invasive balloon catheters and stents to coronary arteries and other vessels blocked with chronic occlusions. Safety-release valve at proximal end indicates when device has reached maximum rotation, and tapered distal tip with radio-opaque marker provides optimal visualization in navigating difficult-to-access areas.

Original Press Release:

Abbott Launches New Specialty Catheter Technology in U.S.

Asahi Tornus(R) Device May Help Physicians Deliver Life-Saving Stents and Balloons to Dense Areas of Blockage in Coronary and Peripheral Vessels -

NEW YORK, Feb. 24 / -- Abbott today announced the introduction of a new specialty catheter designed to help physicians access areas of blockage in the coronary arteries and other vessels in the body that may be difficult to reach. Known as the Asahi Tornus(R) specialty catheter, the new stainless steel device is engineered to deliver therapeutic, minimally invasive balloon catheters and stents to vessels blocked with dense fibrous fatty plaque -- also known as chronic occlusions. The Tornus, which was cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was launched at today's session of the Third International Chronic Total Occlusion Summit.

"The Tornus stainless steel catheter gives us more support for accessing a type of occlusion that for decades has represented a major frustration for interventionalists," said interventional cardiologist Gregg W. Stone, M.D., Division of Cardiology, Columbia University Medical Center and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, New York. "Chronic occlusions have proven so resistant to conventional interventional technology that we refer to them as the 'last frontier' in interventional therapy."

Interventional therapy, also described as minimally invasive therapy, allows some patients with vessel disease to avoid surgery by undergoing treatment with balloon catheters or stents that are threaded to specific sites of vessel disease over therapeutic wires. Before a site of vessel blockage can be opened with a balloon or stent, it must be penetrated and crossed using a wire and support catheter. This is often referred to as "crossing the lesion."

"If a lesion cannot be crossed, it cannot be treated with minimally invasive therapy, and a patient may have to be referred for open heart surgery," said Dr. Stone. "About 15 percent of the patients we see have this type of a blockage. The Tornus catheter allows us to cross dense areas of vessel blockage so they can be successfully dilated and stented."

Support catheters are intended to provide additional assistance for physicians to access lesions with therapeutic wires. While most catheters are made of conventional plastic, the Tornus catheter is made of stainless steel to provide extra support during operator handling. The proprietary Tornus design consists of several hair-thin, stainless steel strands braided together to enhance flexibility and strength, along with a safety-release valve at the proximal end to indicate when the device has reached maximum rotation, and a specialized tapered distal tip with a radio-opaque marker for optimal visualization in navigating difficult-to-access areas. The device is available in two sizes: 2.1 Fr for accessing lesions that are more difficult to navigate and 2.6 Fr for circumstances requiring more support to push through the lesion.

"Through our partnership with Asahi, we are pleased to offer physicians a new option for treating challenging lesions," said David Van Meter, general manager, Coronary Technologies, Abbott Vascular. "The Tornus complements Abbott's broad line of Asahi guidewires, as well as our rapidly growing portfolio of devices for vascular interventionalists. These outstanding tools have earned high marks from the physicians who rely on them to deliver life-saving devices to patients with known areas of vessel disease."

The Tornus is manufactured by Japan-based Asahi Intecc Co., Ltd. Abbott has a licensing agreement with Asahi Intecc to distribute its guidewires in the U.S. and certain countries worldwide.

About Chronic Occlusions
Compared with areas of vessel narrowing (stenoses), chronic occlusions are typically longer and contain larger, denser masses of plaque. Chronic occlusions are generally characterized by dense, fibrous tissue that is often partially calcified and difficult to penetrate with conventional interventional technology tools. The severity of a chronic occlusion is determined by the degree of vessel narrowing, the rate of blood flow through the narrowing, and the age (chronicity) of the occlusion. Research reveals that approximately 30 percent of patients with coronary artery disease have at least one chronic occlusion.

About Abbott Vascular
Abbott Vascular, a division of Abbott, is transforming the treatment of vascular disease, combining the latest medical device innovations with world- class pharmaceuticals to advance medicine and improve patient care. Abbott Vascular offers a comprehensive portfolio of vessel closure, endovascular and coronary products that are recognized internationally for their safety, effectiveness and ease of use in treating patients with vascular disease. Abbott Vascular is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif. For more information on Abbott Vascular, visit .

About Abbott
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 60,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at .

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