Type of innovation: Device
Scope: Clinical Analysis
Innovation leader: Shared leadership
In vascular radiology the usual method of obtaining an X-ray image with which to make a diagnosis is to inject an iodinated contrast agent into the patient that delineates the blood vessel under study.
Grifols invented a new device for performing angiograms based on using CO2 as the radiocontrast medium. Carbon dioxide is an ideal alternative to regular contrast agents. It is reliable and provides added safety because it avoids possible complications such as allergic reactions to iodinated contrast media or renal problems.
The Carbon Dioxide Diagnostic Injector, or CADDI, was the specific apparatus designed by Grifols to inject CO2 into the vascular system in an automated and controlled manner.
“Many of Diagnostic Grifols developments were inspired by the ideas of specialists working in the field. Their hands-on experience in medical and hospital practice was a vital source of knowledge about the sector's needs.”
Dr Montañá, the inspiration for the CADDI
Many of Diagnostic Grifols developments were inspired by the ideas of specialists working in the field. Their hands-on experience in medical and hospital practice was a vital source of knowledge about the sector's needs. That was certainly true for the CADDI, a project developed by the Diagnostic Grifols R&D department with the medical advice of Dr. Montañá, the head of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Barcelona's Hospital Clínico.
Dr. Montañá had been mulling the automation of the manually performed diagnosis technique for some time in a quest to reduce the risks for patients undergoing angiograms. All it needed was for someone to act upon his idea. He explored several avenues before the Medical Products Unit at Diagnostic Grifols picked up his suggestion. The nature of the project and the technology required to develop it matched the company's profile perfectly. Dr. Montañá was very pleased with the collaboration: "Grifols did all the work," he said, "I set out the problems and R&D solved them. And I think they are good solutions." He liked the end product, the CADDI, both for its functionality and for its design: "I think they've done a very good job and colleagues from other hospitals say so too."
Why wasn't the CADDI a success?
The CADDI was a high-precision device designed to be straightforward to use. The setup and mobility of its components, ease of programing, transportability, and safety systems made for a smooth fit into vascular radiologists' working spaces. All those features should have allowed it to compete with the products of established international players in this medical specialty. Yet, while it was distributed internationally, it failed to make an impact because the big multinationals marketing radiology systems also sold the radiocontrast agents at high prices to get the most out of the hardware. Liquified CO2 as a contrast medium is very inexpensive compared with standard radiocontrast agents, so there was little interest in promoting it and pressure was brought to bear so that the technique did not catch on. Poor sales meant that Diagnostic Grifols had to discontinue the production and marketing of CADDI in the mid-2000s.
- Grupo Grifols. (1999). Inyector CADDI. Revista Cosmos: periódico para los colaboradores del Grupo Grifols, 12(2), ca. 10.
- Grupo Grifols. (2001). Caddi, el inyector de CO2 ya se utiliza en varios hospitales. Revista Cosmos: periódico para los colaboradores del Grupo Grifols, 22(4), 4.