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Home » Clinical Trials » Medical device trials to transform cardiovascular healthcare delivery in Ireland

Ronan Rogers

Senior Research & Development Director, Medtronic

Dr Faisal Sharif

Professor of Cardiovascular Translational Research and Innovation;
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist; Non-Executive Director BioInnovate Ireland

Clinical trials underway across Ireland are putting advancements in cardiovascular medical technology to the test, allowing groundbreaking new medical devices to be brought to market.

As advancements in technology move faster than ever, healthcare technology companies bridge the gap between the ever-growing burden of disease and the need for efficient healthcare solutions.

Medical devices improving cardiac conditions

Prof Faisal Sharif, Professor of Cardiovascular Translational Research and Innovation, pioneered two groundbreaking medical devices, showcasing the work being developed in the cardiology space.

  1. Remote monitoring device for heart failure

“Cardiac pressures are known to change for one week before a patient gets unwell. With use of a remote patient cardiac pressure measurement device, frail and elderly patients with heart failure can be monitored at home. Changes to their cardiac pressures can be identified and treated before the patient gets to the point of emergency hospitalisation,” explains Dr Sharif.

2. Renal artery denervation for uncontrolled blood pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a health concern affecting one in three people globally. Healthcare technology company Medtronic has developed an innovative device to treat hypertension, which can produce a much-needed drop in blood pressure. “Long-term high blood pressure causes heart disease, stroke and other health complications; development of this new therapy creates an innovative approach to treating a widespread problem,” says Prof Sharif.

How clinical trials transform healthcare

Medical devices can be transformative but must be patient-friendly in their application. They offer a chance to revolutionise healthcare by enabling innovative treatments and remote patient monitoring, potentially reducing hospitalisations and preventing health deterioration.

They also offer alternative treatments, which can work synergistically with pharmaceutical options. Clinical trials provide strong scientific evidence of safety and benefit to the patient prior to a device attaining approval for widespread population use.

Ronan Rogers, Senior Research and Development Director of Medtronic, discusses the scale and extent of bringing medical devices to market, with the help of clinicians like Dr Sharif. “Our technology improves the lives of around two patients every second. At any one time, we are running around 400 clinical trials globally,” insists Rogers. “Trials are producing the evidence needed to establish best clinical practice, informing strategy and future policy.”

Trials are producing the evidence needed
to establish best clinical practice,
informing strategy and future policy.

Networks for enhanced clinical outcomes

Conducting clinical trial activity in Ireland requires national collaboration to operate at scale, according to Rogers. “We are fortunate in Ireland to have highly skilled healthcare professionals, a widespread research network and meaningful links to academic institutes allowing us to achieve this,” he says.

“Medtronic has conducted a number of clinical trials in Ireland, including one focused on the treatment of hypertension, and has benefited from a really strong clinical research team, including highly-trained research nurses, data managers and researchers, allowing us to produce high-quality clinical research data.”

In environments prioritising clinical research, the quality and capacity of care are elevated, leading to enhanced clinical outcomes for patients. Rogers and Sharif specifically acknowledge the significant contribution of the Irish community, highlighting their pivotal role in these advancements. “We want clinical trials to be meaningful, and patients are regularly involved in the design of our trials across Ireland,” says Dr Sharif.

Ireland’s medical technology landscape

With extensive government support from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, the Department of Health and the Health Research Board, Ireland’s clinical research infrastructure continues to expand.

Rogers emphasises: “We have all the necessary components of the ecosystem in Ireland; we have the ability to do more. If we can align the various stakeholders involved and speed up the process to get the clinical trials started and provide sustainable research posts, the possibilities could be endless.”

In Ireland, medtech companies are at the forefront of groundbreaking advancements in medical technology, harnessing a unique blend of cutting-edge technology, scientific expertise and a connected ecosystem. These collaborative efforts are driving the development of innovative solutions to tackle complex medical conditions.

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