REDMOND, Wash., and SAN DIEGO, Calif., -- February 9, 2011 -- Physio-Control, Inc., a global leader in emergency medical solutions and wholly-owned subsidiary of Medtronic, Inc., (NYSE: MDT) and BeneChill, Inc., a pioneer in portable therapeutic cooling systems, today announced a strategic partnership to launch the RhinoChill® IntraNasal Cooling System in Europe. RhinoChill is a non-invasive, portable system for transnasally cooling the head and lowering the body's core temperature immediately following cardiac arrest, stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Initially, the partnership will focus on bringing the RhinoChill System to market in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg during the first quarter of 2011, utilizing Physio-Control's extensive European distribution network. Additionally, as part of this strategic alliance, the two companies will work jointly to develop additional applications for BeneChill and work towards making the RhinoChill System available in the U.S.
"Therapeutic hypothermia can be a vital tool in improving survival from sudden cardiac arrest and is therefore essential to our company's mission," said Brian Webster, President of Physio-Control. "We wanted to partner with a cooling solution company that was innovative and focused on the science. The RhinoChill system fits well with Physio-Control because it is portable and non-invasive which allows for use in the prehospital environment, where deployment has the potential to cool patients much earlier and faster than before."
"BeneChill is proud to announce our partnership with Physio-Control -- the world's leading provider of external defibrillation and monitoring technology," added Alan Raffensperger, CEO of BeneChill Inc. "BeneChill's mission is to protect the hearts and brains of patients during cardiac arrest and to improve survival. The strategic partnership with Physio-Control will ensure that our breakthrough RhinoChill cooling technology will be available for emergency and critical care health care professionals in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Austria and Switzerland."
Clinical Benefits of Therapeutic Hypothermia
Therapeutic hypothermia is gaining increasing acceptance following cardiac arrest in both the pre-hospital and hospital environments. Landmark clinical studies demonstrating that mild hypothermia lowers mortality and improves neurological outcome after successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest were published in 2002. The European Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest (HACA) trial group1 demonstrated an improvement in survival to hospital discharge with favorable neurological status in cooled patients compared with normothermic patients surviving cardiac arrest (53 percent versus 36 percent respectively), with no significant adverse events from cooling.
The updated 2010 American Heart Association (AHA) and European Resuscitation Council (ERC) Guidelines for resuscitation and CPR2,3 both confirm the importance of therapeutic hypothermia following cardiac arrest. The guidelines advise that the earlier cooling is started during cardiac arrest, the better the outcomes. The AHA guidelines classify therapeutic hypothermia as a Class I recommendation, advising the treatment/procedure should be performed by clinicians. Both sets of guidelines recommend that cardiac arrest patients are only taken to centers which provide therapeutic cooling. The ERC guidelines specifically refer to transnasal evaporative cooling as a method to induce cooling in the pre-hospital setting.