The Space Foundation has inducted NASA Langley Research Center-Soluble Imide (LaRC-SI) – used in Medtronic plc leads connected to implantable cardiac devices – into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held during the Space Foundation’s 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
LaRC-SI is an insulation material developed by researchers at the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Langley Research Center that was previously evaluated for space applications, high-performance engines and harsh environments. It is highly flexible, resistant to chemicals and withstands extreme temperatures, making it suitable for medical use, including implantable cardiac devices.
A lead is a tiny wire implanted in the heart through a vein that carries information signals from the heart to the implanted cardiac device – such as a pacemaker, defibrillator or cardiac resynchronization therapy device – and sends electrical impulses from the device to the heart. Navigating a lead through the intricate curves of the vascular and cardiac anatomy is recognized as one of the most challenging aspects of implanting these devices. By adapting NASA’s LaRC-SI durable material for its leads, Medtronic was able to make thinner, more flexible wires that help physicians optimize lead placement in difficult-to-reach areas of the heart and in patients with smaller veins.
“Medtronic is committed to working with leading researchers around the world to develop meaningful innovations, and our partnership with NASA is just one example of that,” said David Steinhaus, M.D., vice president and general manager, Heart Failure, and medical director for the Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure Management business at Medtronic. “We’re honored to be recognized for the development of an improved technology that has been implanted in more than 350,000 patients worldwide.”
The Space Foundation is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities that works closely with NASA to recognize individuals and organizations that develop innovative products based on space technology.
In collaboration with leading clinicians, researchers and scientists worldwide, Medtronic offers the broadest range of innovative medical technology for the interventional and surgical treatment of cardiovascular disease and cardiac arrhythmias. The company strives to offer products and services that deliver clinical and economic value to healthcare consumers and providers around the world.