• Question: Have you designed any important machines to help peoples hearts? If not what have you done?

    Asked by FinnickTheCrab to Tommy on 28 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Tommy Hayden

      Tommy Hayden answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      The project I’m working on now is a machine to help treat a specific heart problem but can’t go into it in much detail because it’s still being designed

      The first project I worked on in Medtronic was for a product that burned a nerve in people’s kidneys to help reduce blood pressure (there is a nervous loop between kidney, brain and heart that impacts blood pressure)

      After that I worked on a project where skin from a pig’s heart was used to create a heart valve that could be inserted into a patient’s heart using a catheter that’s inserted through their leg (sounds a bit rough but it’s far better than having rib cage split for open heart surgery…). Patients are typically back on their feet the next day (if not same day as treatment) using this approach

      Then I worked on a stent project. Stents are wire frames that can be inserted via arm or leg to keep blocked arteries opened. I’ve seen a few of these get implanted. The patient is very comfortable during these procedures – all done in about 30 mins. It seems similar to getting a tooth filled – again, much better than getting chest opened…

      The machine I’m working on now is to treat blockages that can’t be treated using stents