Edwards Lifesciences

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Edwards Lifesciences
Public (NYSEEW)
Industry Medical device
Founded 1958
Headquarters Irvine, California, United States
Key people
Michael A. Mussallem, Chairman & CEO
Products Heart valves, Critical care technology, Cardiac surgery technology
Revenue $2.05 billion (2013)
Number of employees
8,700
Website Edwards.com

Edwards Lifesciences’ roots date to 1958, when Miles “Lowell” Edwards set out to build the first artificial heart.

Edwards was a 60-year-old, recently retired engineer holding 63 patents in an array of industries, with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dream of helping patients with heart disease. His fascination with healing the heart was sparked in his teens, when he suffered two bouts of a disease called rheumatic fever, which can scar heart valves and eventually cause the heart to fail.

With a background in hydraulics and fuel pump operations, Edwards believed the human heart could be mechanized. He presented the idea to Dr. Albert Starr, a young surgeon at the University of Oregon Medical School, who thought the idea was too complex. Instead, Starr encouraged Edwards to focus first on developing an artificial heart valve, for which there was an immediate need.

After just two years, the first Starr-Edwards mitral valve was designed, developed, tested, and successfully placed in a patient. Newspapers around the world reported on what they termed a “miraculous” heart surgery.

This innovation spawned a company, Edwards Laboratories, which set up shop in Santa Ana, California – not far from where Edwards Lifesciences’ corporate headquarters is located today.

In 1966, Edwards Laboratories was purchased by American Hospital Supply Corporation and became American Edwards Laboratories. Then, in 1985, American Edwards was acquired by Baxter International Inc. In early 2000, the company was spun off as an independent, publicly held corporation and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “EW.”[1]

Today, Edwards continues as a leader in the field of tissue replacement heart valves and repair products and advanced hemodynamic monitoring, which have helped treat and manage more than 2 million patients worldwide. Each year, more than 300,000 valve replacements are performed worldwide through open-heart surgery, utilizing either bioprosthetic tissue valves or mechanical valves. Edwards products include tissue replacement heart valves, sold under such brand names as Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT and Carpentier-Edwards PERIMOUNT MAGNA, and also valve repair products that are used by surgeons to fix, instead of replace, a patient’s valve.[2]

The Edwards SAPIEN family of heart valves are delivered via a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure enables the placement of a collapsible heart valve into the body via a tube-based delivery system (catheter) that can be inserted through multiple access routes, including either an incision in the leg (transfemoral), or in between the ribs and to be threaded up to the heart (transapical), or through the front of the chest and then through a small hole in the aorta (transaortic). The valve is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without traditional open-heart surgery and while the heart continues to beat – avoiding the need to stop the patient’s heart and connect them to a heart-lung machine that temporarily takes over the function of the heart and the patient’s breathing during surgery (cardiopulmonary bypass).

Edwards also manufactures products for vascular therapy along with hemodynamic monitoring devices for measuring cardiovascular performance during surgery and in the ICU. Hemodynamic monitoring is the measurement of blood circulation and cardiac function that allows clinicians to evaluate whether enough oxygen is being delivered to the organs and tissues. Among these is the Swan-Ganz catheter. Originally developed for patients with acute myocardial infarction, it is now used in anesthesia and critical care units. Healthcare providers use this monitoring to detect changes or problems in a patient’s health, which allows for more informed, immediate treatment decisions.

To facilitate on-pump cardiac surgery procedures through smaller incisions, Edwards also offers a cardiac surgery product line comprising soft tissue retractors, venous and arterial cannulae, aortic occlusion, venting, and coronary sinus catheters, as well as reusable instruments for performing minimally invasive valvular procedures.[3]

Edwards operates the websites Edwards.com, NewHeartValve.com and YourHeartValve.com.


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