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Medtronic Octopus® Evolution Tissue Stabilizer Offers New Flexibility, Stability to Surgeons Repairing a Beating Heart


Next-Generation Instrument Facilitates Surgery That’s Easier on the Patient

MINNEAPOLIS – June 22, 2006 – Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) today announced introduction of the Medtronic Octopus® Evolution Tissue Stabilizer, the latest in a 10-year series of innovative cardiac surgery instruments. The Octopus Evolution tissue stabilizer is used in beating-heart surgery, with suction pods holding the surface tissue of the heart stable while the surgeon attaches a transplanted vessel around blockages in the coronary arteries. This latest stabilizer provides a new range of options to help the surgeon easily position the device on any target area of the heart surface, stabilize the suture site to a degree unattainable before, and then work with unimpeded view as the bypass is sutured in place.

Teamed with the Medtronic Starfish® or Urchin Heart Positioner, the Octopus Evolution provides a key technology to allow “off-pump” or “OPCAB” surgery on the beating heart. Off-pump surgery has become an attractive alternative to the traditional heart-lung machine, which is used to pump and oxygenate the patient’s blood if the heart must be stopped for repairs.

The Octopus Evolution device represents a decade of Medtronic product innovation, achieving new levels of flexibility, stability and ease of use with several key product enhancements including:

* The arm supporting the suction pods provides a greater degree of stability, flexibility, range of motion for ease of positioning, and longer effective reach to targeted vessels.
* Combining the articulating head link that provides a new range of motion unseen in past devices with the patented Octopus suction pods, which allows the head to be positioned with the pods pointing up, down, or to the side.
* The device’s head link designed with a lower profile and surgeon-controlled pod spread, which aids in providing the appropriate visualization of the target area.
* An enhanced device clamp and turret assembly that have made the device much easier to set up on any location on the sternal retractor.

Dr. Oern Stuge, senior vice president and president of the Cardiac Surgery business at Medtronic, noted that the medical acceptance of the beating-heart CABG techniques has validated the company’s extensive efforts to improve the supporting technologies during recent years. “Cardiac surgery will continue to evolve and Medtronic is committed to respond to the surgeon’s continuing needs,” he said.

Off-pump procedures have reached parity in safety and effectiveness with the conventional “arrested heart” technique and may be better in some cases for some patients, according to a statement last December by the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery. The statement, authored by 12 leading heart surgeons, was made after an analysis of worldwide published clinical evidence. Key findings include:

* Beating-heart surgery should be considered a safe alternative to conventional bypass surgery with similar or reduced risk of mortality at 30 days with mixed-risk patients
* The procedure is recommended in certain patient populations to reduce post-surgical problems such as stroke, heart attack, atrial fibrillation, and renal failure, which are less likely to occur when grafting is done as the heart continues to beat
* Patients are less likely to experience neurocognitive dysfunction after 30 days (after a year, neurocognitive outcomes are about the same for each type of procedure)
* Beating-heart surgery is recommended to reduce the length of stay in the intensive care unit and in the hospital
* Beating-heart surgery should be considered for use on high-risk patients

Approximately 300,000 patients in the United States undergo coronary artery grafting operations every year. Currently, approximately 22 percent of the general population and more than 30 percent of the Medicare cases are being performed off-pump. During the past decade, the Octopus family of stabilizers have been used on more than 400,000 patients worldwide. The devices use innovative suction stabilization technology to hold, lift and rotate the beating heart to expose coronary arteries on any of its surfaces, and then hold the tissue almost stationary where the surgeon is working.

About Medtronic
Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology – alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world.


Any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic’s Annual Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended January 27, 2006. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.


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