Exero Medical’s internal monitoring device xBar makes clinicians aware of the signs of anastomotic leaks, an often deadly and undetected complication of GI tract surgeries, to enable safer, personalized treatment options, reduce hospitalization time, and improve patient survival rates.
The period of healing after surgery is a vulnerable time for patients during which the risk of sepsis or other complications is at its peak. Yet, physicians cannot treat what they cannot observe, and sometimes issues are undetectable until they are in a state of emergency. At the same time, the standard hospitalization stay might be unnecessarily long for patients who recover rapidly, exposing them to potential hospital-borne infections as well as imposing additional costs.
The roughly 5 million yearly gastrointestinal procedures are especially prone to healing improperly, with an estimated 6-10% of patients developing leakages along surgical connections in the digestive tract known as anastomoses. Of that segment of patients, between 20% and 40% do not survive to be discharged from the hospital, while the rest undergo weeks of revision surgeries. The overall burden on the healthcare system caused by anastomotic leaks and their sequelae totals nearly $20 billion annually.
Before becoming CEO of Exero Medical, Erez Shor, PhD, first learned about the problem of anastomotic leaks during a bike ride with MEDX Xelerator CEO Shai Policker, who was looking into ways to address the problem as part of the incubator’s venture creation program. A looming issue for GI surgeons, instances of leaking are typically detected at the catastrophic stage due to the lack of detailed insight near the surgical site once the incision is closed. “The diagnostic armamentarium of these surgeons does not allow them to know what’s going on until patients develop serious clinical symptoms of sepsis in the abdominal cavity,” says Shor.