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MVH Doctors Become Better Detectives with New SpyGlass Technology

DAYTON, OHIO—October 16, 2008 —Gastroenterologists at Miami Valley Hospital are the first in the area to have a new tool to aid them in diagnosing and treating patients with liver, gallbladder and bile duct conditions such as obstructions, stones or cancers. The new tool is called SpyGlass Direct Visualization System developed by Boston Scientific.

The technology will assist physicians in overcoming some of the visual challenges of conventional Endoscope Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreotography procedures known as ERCP for short.

When patients undergo an ERCP procedure they are sedated. A long flexible tube called an endoscope is passed through the mouth and gently moved down the throat through the stomach and into the small intestine to the point where the ducts from the gallbladder, liver and pancreas enter the intestine. Special devices are advanced through the endoscope to enable these small ducts to be X-rayed.

The new SpyGlass system allows doctors a better view into the patient’s digestive system.  It has an optical fiber or visualization probe that is less than one millimeter in diameter that fits through one of the working channels in the larger endoscope. The SpyGlass allows for clear and precise inspection of very small spaces such as the bile ducts. The fiber optic probe attaches to a camera head and is inserted through a single-use catheter that can be steered in four directions.  This is designed to allow the doctor to access and inspect all of the treatment area, resulting in an improved diagnosis for patients.

“The SpyGlass system is tremendously beneficial to patients,” says Christopher
Barde, MD, a digestive disease specialist. “In the past we could only evaluate the bile ducts indirectly via X-rays.  Now we can enter the ducts with this new, very small scope, and actually see causes of a blockage or disease. It is like looking at a live color picture.”

Before SpyGlass technology, surgery may have been required for a diagnosis. Now doctors can obtain tissue biopsies under direct visualization, often preventing the need for major surgery.

“The ability to see into the bile duct with this device opens new avenues for making more accurate diagnoses sooner and to provide less invasive types of treatment,” says Dr. Barde.