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Cox cardiologist invents new device for surgery

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by Ann Bucy

SBJ Contributing Writer

It has already been used in Germany, and it is making its way to Japan, France and Portugal. Its inventor says it may be approved for use in the United States in the next few weeks.

Dr. Keesag Baron, a Cox Health Systems cardiologist, has invented a device known as the Lynx, which uses microwave technology in heart surgery.

"The device is hand-held and burns the upper chambers of the heart in certain patterns," he said. "It's used to cure atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), which originates in the upper chambers, and helps the patient get his heartbeat back in a normal rhythm," Baron said.

Currently, the method typically used to cure atrial fibrillation is the maze procedure. A scalpel is taken to the upper part of the heart, which is then sewn back together.

With the Lynx method, the operation takes 10 to 15 minutes Baron said. "With the maze procedure, it can take hours," he said. "Also, the procedure can cause palpitations or stroke, and the drugs can have side effects."

Baron said it was in 1992 that he began looking for a better way to do this type of procedure. He founded Fidus Medical Technology, based in Fremont, Calif., a one-man operation that has since added the talents of engineers, investors, manufacturers and distributors which is how people in Europe have access to the device.

"A lot of people are finding out about this and want it," he said. "It solves a lot of problems because (atrial fibrillation) is a rhythm that's hard to treat."

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