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Female-led British medtech revolutionising brain surgery gets £1.5M funding boost

The swelling of a blood vessel in the brain with the potential to leak or rupture, popularly known as brain aneurysm, can lead to serious medical emergencies, including stroke, brain damage and death if they burst. In the recent past, there have been several high-profile personalities, including US President Joe Biden, actress Emilia Clarke and musician Dr Dre, who have suffered brain aneurysms.

The NHS states that about one in 12,500 people have a ruptured aneurysm in England each year, while the percentage of the population with an undetected brain aneurysm that might rupture is much higher; one in 20 of those aneurysms is a ticking time bomb.

Tackling brain aneurysms

Attempting to tackle the problem of this ‘ticking time bomb’ of brain aneurysms that is devastating the lives of thousands of Brits each year is Oxford Heartbeat. The British medical startup, founded in 2015, has been granted an additional £1.5 million to develop its cutting-edge technology to help surgeons prepare and execute high-risk surgeries.

The female-led startup, which was set up by Dr Katerina Spranger out of her Oxford PhD, has raised almost £4 million for its ground-breaking CE marked stent technology to date, with the new £1.5 million Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst grant awarded to only a score of businesses out of hundreds of applicants.

The new grant award will help extend the power of the company’s cutting-edge surgical decision support AI software PreSize Neurovascular.

High-risk brain stenting gets easier

About 10% of surgeries waste at least one stent, and about 20% of patients undergo repeat surgeries because of complications. Thus, inaccurate stenting procedures are costing patients’ lives and wasting hospital resources on a vast scale.

The London-based health tech company’s CE-marked software has demonstrated excellent accuracy and supports safe and precise surgical decision making for high-risk brain stenting surgeries. A pilot study underway, the startup is partnering with seven forward-thinking NHS Trusts to evaluate the impact of the software in the front-line clinical conditions.

Improving patient outcomes

The company’s vision is a world where every patient and doctor is supported by the most advanced technologies, and successful surgical outcomes are the norm; not the exception. Dr Katerina Spranger, CEO of Oxford Heartbeat said: “Brain aneurysms can strike out of the blue and with devastating consequences. We are dealing with some of the most complex surgeries and the challenge before healthcare practitioners cannot be overstated, especially as the NHS works to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Developing PreSize technology further

This crucial funding will enable Oxford Heartbeat to supercharge its efforts to continue the development of its advanced PreSize technology so that doctors have access to better pre-surgical knowledge and patients can benefit from more positive outcomes. The technology is offering surgeons an opportunity to rehearse high-risk, minimally invasive procedures and choose the best scenario for every patient, reducing surgical complications and improving patient outcomes.