Medtronic is tapping Viz.ai, a developer of artificial intelligence programs to help spot strokes, for a distribution partnership to bring its technology to more hospitals and centers.
Viz.ai’s software links with CT scanners to identify and triage potential large vessel occlusion strokes, or LVOs, and can automatically notify specialists while providing the radiological images to their smartphones.
The goal is to shorten a hospital’s “door-to-needle” time—getting a patient into treatment quickly, such as for a thrombectomy to physically remove the blood clot, is essential while oxygen is being blocked from the brain. The two companies say about 2 million brain cells can die every minute during a stroke.
They also estimate that a person has an LVO every two minutes in the U.S., though only about 15% receive a thrombectomy. A previous Viz.ai study of two centers showed its system was able to alert stroke specialists of a case earlier than standard procedures, saving an average of 52 minutes.
“As the largest medical device company in the world, Medtronic is an ideal partner to help physicians access Viz.ai’s cutting-edge technology to ensure as many patients get the care they need as quickly as possible,” Viz.ai co-founder and CEO Chris Mansi said in a statement. The financial and operational details of the partnership were not disclosed.
Currently, the software is available in more than 200 hospitals since receiving its de novo clearance from the FDA in February 2018. Later in the year, Viz.ai secured $21 million in a series A round backed by Kleiner Perkins and GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, and nabbed a second FDA clearance for automated CT perfusion analysis.
For its part, on the hardware side, Medtronic offers the Solitaire Platinum revascularization stent designed to retrieve clots from blocked blood vessels in the brains of people suffering acute ischemic stroke.
“Viz.ai’s software coupled with our network is going to increase access to needed therapies. It greatly complements our existing portfolio,” said Vice President Stacey Pugh, general manager of Medtronic’s Neurovascular business.