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OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Edwards Lifesciences launch knowledge exchange between engineers and cardiologists

Inspired by famous partnership between Starr and Edwards, the Starr Educational Training Program will continue tradition of collaboration in cardiovascular innovation

The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute and Edwards Lifesciences, the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring, today announced the launch of the Starr Educational Training Program, a technical training program that provides medical device engineers at Edwards with in-person clinical experiences, as well as a forum for cardiologists and engineers to discuss patient selection, obstacles and approaches to procedures. The program’s first site visit to the Knight Cardiovascular Institute on January 7-8 included a specific emphasis on OHSU’s comprehensive approach to treating patients with valvular heart disease.

The program is designed to provide engineers who are developing advanced medical technologies for the treatment of heart disease with access and insights into various facets of clinical care, including ambulatory clinic, multi-disciplinary case conference, operating meeting, procedural implantation and post-procedure care in the new cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) established in 2014. The around-the-clock unit includes 26 beds and a specialized team of cardiologists and intensivists who are present in the unit 24 hours per day.

“The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute is thrilled to help further educate Edwards Lifesciences engineers on the needs of the cardiovascular critical care provider, which will enhance the clinical efficacy of their designs by providing clinical insights early in the development process,” said Albert Starr, M.D., executive chairman of the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. “I know firsthand what a difference it makes when engineers and physicians work together on device design. I think Lowell Edwards would be pleased to know our teams are continuing to collaborate more than 50 years after he and I established our groundbreaking partnership.”

Dr. Albert Starr performed Oregon’s first open-heart surgeries and performed the state’s first heart transplant. He is best known internationally for co-inventing and implanting the world’s first artificial human heart valve in 1960. His innovation with engineer Lowell Edwards changed the landscape of treatment available to valvular heart disease patients, giving rise to an entirely new industry for heart valve replacement products and also the Edwards Lifesciences Corporation.

“Edwards’ ability to introduce life-changing and life-saving devices to patients all around the world has been driven by our close collaborations with clinical and research leaders like Dr. Starr,” said Stanton J. Rowe, corporate vice president, advanced technology, and chief scientific officer at Edwards Lifesciences. “Through this educational collaboration with the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Edwards is embarking for the first time on a structured program that enables our engineers who are developing future technologies to interact with clinicians providing care to heart patients. More importantly, Edwards engineers can use a deeper appreciation of clinical and patient needs to create new designs to benefit patients.”

The Starr Educational Training Program is inspired by the famous partnership between Albert Starr and Lowell Edwards that forever changed the course of cardiovascular history.

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