Aortic occlusion to improve blood flow to the brain and heart: interview with Habib Frost, CEO of Neurescue


Neurescue, a medical technology company based in Denmark, created the NEURESCUE system, a balloon catheter designed to occlude the aorta, leading to a significant increase in blood flow to the heart and brain. The mechanism is intended to provide emergency treatment to patients suffering from hemorrhage or cardiac arrest.

Both bleeding and cardiac arrest represent unmet needs, resulting in a significant number of deaths each year. Currently, only one in ten people survive cardiac arrest, illustrating the strong results of this patient population.

Aortic occlusion can help control blood loss and, by increasing blood flow to the heart and brain, the procedure can help save time for patients suffering from bleeding or cardiac arrest. The device is administered through the femoral artery and a safety feedback system helps ensure that it is positioned correctly during temporary balloon inflation. Inflation itself is regulated to prevent overinflation or rupture.

Medgadget He had the opportunity to speak with Habib Frost, founder and CEO of Neurescue, about the technology and what it could mean for cardiac arrest outcomes.

Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please give us an overview of bleeding and cardiac arrest and its consequences for patients.

Habib Frost, Neurescue: Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heartbeat in a person and is a major health problem that accounts for 15-20% of deaths. In the United States, more than half a million people die each year from cardiac arrest, and only 1 in 10 people who experience cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive hospital discharge. The figures are not much higher when the event takes place in the hospital, where the survival rate reaches around 25%. Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of loss of life years in heart disease. 40-50% of all life years lost to heart disease is due to cardiac arrest.

Bleeding is severe bleeding, for example, caused by traffic accidents, gunshot wounds, or pregnancy-related bleeding. Accidents are the leading cause of death in people under the age of 45 and bleeding accounts for a third of these deaths. There are 60,000 deaths in the United States due to bleeding each year and an estimated 1.9 million deaths annually worldwide, 1.5 million of which result from trauma.

Medgadget: How are these conditions currently treated? Why is it not optimal?

Habib Frost: The current standard of care for cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with chest compressions and defibrillation. Current CPR only replaces 35% of blood flow to the heart and brain, which is not high enough to resuscitate most patients and does not provide enough time to successfully bind most patients to advanced definitive treatments.

For bleeding, ongoing or severe internal bleeding due to, for example, a trauma usually requires surgery to correct the problem. When internal bleeding is severe, emergency surgery should be performed within minutes. Torso hemorrhage, which cannot be compressed externally, has a survival rate of 45%, as the individual usually bleeds until definitive surgical treatment can be performed.

Medgadget: What inspired you to develop this technology?

Habib Frost: As a senior medical student, I witnessed a young woman suffering from cardiac arrest. Despite access to all available treatments, the medical team was unable to save his life. Later that day, the team was called to another case of cardiac arrest. This time she was a woman in her 30s. Again, they could not save his life. I felt devastated and at the time I knew I wanted to help improve the standard of care for patients with cardiac arrest.

Medgadget: Give us an overview of the NEURESCUE device and how it works.

Habib Frost: The NEURESCUE device is the world’s first smart balloon catheter for aortic occlusion, an emergency technique that surpasses blood flow to the heart and brain within a minute of deployment. The catheter-based device is administered through the femoral artery, temporarily inflating a soft balloon into the aorta to redirect blood flow to the upper body. The procedure is performed to control blood loss or increase perfusion to the heart and brain and connect patients with additional life-saving treatment options. Increased blood flow to the heart and brain, through temporary aortic occlusion, increases the chances of immediate resuscitation, while allowing new opportunities to connect patients with definitive treatment.

The NEURESCUE device consists of a catheter and a control unit, which houses the patented sensor guide and automated inflation technology. The device’s intelligent safety feedback system aids in catheter positioning and regulates balloon pressure to prevent excessive inflation, rupture, and tissue damage, while controlling blood pressure. Once deployed, the device supercharges blood flow to the heart and brain in a minute. Its simple design is optimized for emergency situations and, through automatic sensor guidance and device inflation, the procedure can be performed safely with or without fluoroscopy. This helps to allow access to the emergency procedure in emergency beds and in the ICU, as well as outside the hospital.

Here is a video with more information about the NEURESCUE device and a demonstration of its use:

Medgadget: How will the device help improve the results of patients on bleeding and cardiac arrest?

Habib Frost:
The NEURESCUE device increases blood flow to the heart and brain, which increases the chances of immediate resuscitation, while allowing new opportunities to connect patients with definitive treatment. The NEURESCUE device is complementary to the existing standard of care for cardiac arrest and hemorrhage. The device can connect patients to receive definitive treatment options, for example, heart-lung-machine treatment (ECMO), stents (PCI), cardiac support devices (LVAD), pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, and so on. For hemorrhage, the device buys a critical time for definitive surgical treatment.

The patented device helps ensure safe positioning and inflation during CPR or bleeding, where fluoroscopy is most often not available. This helps enable the emergency procedure in emergency rooms, ICU, head office and out of hospitals.

Medgadget: Congratulations on FDA approval of your application for exemption from investigative devices. This will pave the way for a clinical trial of the device in the treatment of cardiac arrest. When, where, and how do you plan to perform the trial and if the results of the trial are positive, what will it mean for patients with technology and cardiac arrest?

Habib Frost: We look forward to beginning enrolling patients in our clinical trial in the United States later this year. This may lead to an expanded indication of the NEURESCUE device as a supplement for refractory cardiac arrest. When looking at the low survival rate of people receiving CPR, it is imperative that new treatments be considered. The last few decades have seen little improvement in cardiac arrest results and we want our technology to change that.

Link: Neurescue Home Page …

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