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Joe Carlson

Reporter | Medical technology
Phone: 612-673-4779
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Joe Carlson writes about medical technology in Minnesota for the Star Tribune.


Carlson has covered health care beats full time since 2008, including medical technology, not-for-profit providers and health care legal affairs. His stories tend to blend health care business affairs and patient-focused information.
Recent content from Joe Carlson

Amid debate over safety, Abbott Northwestern backs off use of some stents

They are rethinking using paclitaxel-coated stents, balloons following report.

Medtronic recalls 157,000 dual-chamber pacemakers

Company said some devices temporarily lose ability to pace the heart.

FDA to investigate safety of drug-coated stents, balloons

Researchers in December flagged higher patient death rates, but device companies have questioned the findings.

Denmark picks Minnesota as its 'bridge' to U.S. med-tech

A new $1.3 million economic-development initiative called MedTech Bridge is trying to capitalize on Denmark's strengths.
3M's Bair Hugger patient warming system is depicted in a company provided image.

Appeals court upholds dismissal of suits against 3M's widely used surgical warming device

The ruling pertains only to 61 Bair Hugger suits filed in state courts by Minn. residents.
Ativa Medical co-founder David Deetz held one of the cartridges the startup is developing to provide rapid blood and sample analysis in a doctor’s o

Can St. Paul startup succeed where Theranos failed? Ativa bets on $8 blood tests

Local firm is the latest to try to shake up the $100 billion clinical lab business

2 women shot, injured in north Minneapolis incidents

One shot while in car, another at bus stop.

Medtronic, Boston Scientific stand by stents despite critical study

The companies say their data don't show safety risks that researchers have cited in a published analysis.
Boston Scientific, which has sizable operations in the Twin Cities, said its revenue grew strongly in 2018 to just shy of $10 billion.

Boston Scientific revenue growth met expectations in 2018

Gains in fast-growing niches led the way.
The EyeBox, a medical device invented by a Minneapolis doctor, has been cleared as a quick, noninvasive test to detect concussions by having the patie

Concussion-detection device developed by Minnesota doctor gets FDA OK

The EyeBox can detect dysfunction in the brain by tracking eye movements.

University of Minnesota startup CoreBiome bought by OraSure

The microbiome company is the fourth with U roots to be acquired in the past 18 months.

Medtronic finalizes its $1.7B purchase of Mazor Robotics

The two companies have been working for years on a system to create details of 3-D surgical plans.
Columbia Heights native Earl Bakken died in October.

At University of Minnesota memorial, late Medtronic founder Bakken's legacy is lauded

Hundreds gather to honor Medtronic founder as visionary, philanthropist.
Medtronic’s Infuse device.

Lost Medtronic data showed serious risks with Infuse surgical implant

Serious neck injuries in patients who received the Infuse surgical implant weren't reported to regulators for years.
The Bair Hugger air-blowing device.

A closer look at the scientific evidence for and against 3M's Bair Hugger

Dozens of peer-reviewed papers on the Bair Hugger's safety profile have been published, some critical, some supportive.
Dr. Scott Augustine gave a demonstration, using a fog machine and a Bair Hugger device, to show the upward flow of air caused by the device which he s

Legal war engulfs commonly used 3M operating-room device

As lawsuits pile up, 3M defends Bair Hugger against its own worst critic: the inventor.
Medical device maker Medtronic PLC has entered into three separate legal resolutions with the Justice Department, including a guilty plea and $50.9 mi

Medtronic has resolved three legal issues with Justice Department, pays $50.9 million

The three cases all involved schemes to promote sales of medical devices made by ev3 and Covidien, before Medtronic acquired the companies in 2015.
Gordy C. Parkhurst died Nov. 9 at age 73.

Gordy C. Parkhurst, who embraced life after years in an institution, dies at 73

Gordy C. Parkhurst was denied many of the things in early life that come to define us as adults: an education, a family, a normal…
Study coordinator Jennifer Dugan of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester demonstrates how the Eko Duo digital stethoscope can listen to the heart and take an

Mayo partnership aims to create an early detector of a 'silent disease'

Company uses Mayo data to teach digital tool to detect heart problems.
Medtronic reported across-the-board strength as its profit and revenue beat expectations for its fiscal second quarter.

Medtronic profit jumps 14 percent, and CEO says future looks even better

Omar Ishrak said firm's focus moving forward is to "invent and disrupt" the med-tech market.

Medtronic to pay HeartWare investors $54.5M under proposed lawsuit settlement

Medtronic has agreed to pay a $54.5 million class-action settlement to investors to resolve allegations that a heart-pump company it acquired in 2016, HeartWare, repeatedly…
Plan beneficiaries can earn up to $4 per day for meeting its goals. Those dollars can be used toward buying the Apple Watch, above.

UnitedHealthcare to feature Apple Watch in wellness plans

The company added the device in hopes of expanding participation.
FILE - This June 19, 2015 file photo shows the seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at SEC headquarters, in Washington. The Securities

Husband of UnitedHealth exec accused of snooping, insider trading to pay $140,000

James E. Hengen of Chanhassen allegedly peaked into his wife's work papers and made trades off the information. He is also accused of tipping off others.
Medtronic is launching a new test of a device approach to treat high blood pressure.

Medtronic launches new trial in effort to bring hypertension treatment to market

Devices are OK to sell in Europe, but approval in U.S. is elusive.

German company acquires St. Paul-based Evergreen Medical

Heraeus cited growth in neuromodulation as key in deal to pick up Evergreen Medical.
Boston Scientific Corp. has more employees in Minnesota than its home state of Massachusetts.

Boston Scientific beats earnings estimates, touts patent ruling

The company saw revenue increase nearly 9 percent in the third quarter.

Monteris Medical gets FDA OK for NeuroBlate laser probe

The new probe eliminates the risk of overheating during use with MRI scanner.
Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic

Medtronic founder Earl Bakken has died in his Hawaii home

Earl Bakken invented the pacemaker in Minneapolis and started Medtronic in 1949.
The HeartMate 3 LVAD, made by Illinois-based Abbott Labs

HeartMate 3 gets FDA approval for extended use

Revamped Abbott Labs device is seen as an option for cardiac patients who are unlikely to get transplants.

Medtronic touts treatment to wean patients off pain pills

Medtronic implantable pump dispenses tiny doses of pain medication.
Abbott Labs' latest results were boosted by heart devices and other products the company acquired in its purchase of Minnesota-based St. Jude Medical.

Heart devices help Abbott Labs meet earnings expectations

After meeting Wall Street quarterly expectations, company looks to 2019.

Minneapolis startup Cardialen raises $17 million in venture capital

The Minneapolis company is developing a new type of defibrillation device.

Summit in Minneapolis ponders the future of health care

Big-name speakers, large crowd gather at first Manova Global Summit on the Future of Health to think about innovation.

Lite Run wins innovation award for 'spacesuit' pants

The device helps people walk normally after stroke or injury.
Danish firm GN Hearing, with operations in Bloomington, makes customized in-the-ear hearing aids and also traditional behind-the-ear devices.

GN Hearing hopes to connect Android phones and hearing aids

GN Hearing is working with Google to adapt its devices to communicate seamlessly with Android smartphones.
The Imris Surgical Theater, a customized neurosurgery suite, will now exclusively use certain MRI and CT imaging equipment made by German med-tech gia

Minnetonka-based Imris strikes collaboration deal with Siemens

Imaging giant will complement Imris' design of surgical suites.

Patterson Cos. among three dental suppliers to pay into $80M price-fixing settlement

Fee is St. Paul firm's share in a court settlement over price-fixing allegations against major dental suppliers.
UnitedHealth Group's OptumRx division for pharmacy services is combining operations with a large, privately backed behavioral-health pharmacy company

UnitedHealth's OptumRx to combine with pharmacy services firm in $2B deal

UnitedHealth has said that transforming pharmacy care services is a key goal it hopes to accomplish.
St. Paul-based Aria CV CEO John Scandurra took center stage to pitch his company’s idea during the Shark Tank Innovation Competition at the Transcat

Aria CV wins tops honors in device organizaton 'Shark Tank' competition

Startup is using University of Minnesota technology to develop a balloon device to treat pulmonary hypertension.
The MitraClip heart valve device made by Abbott Laboratories

Abbott gets boost from strong trial for MitraClip device

Valve trial showed patients less likely to end up in the hospital and had lower risk of death.
A peripheral stent made by Boston Scientific and designed in Maple Grove.

Boston Scientific, Medtronic tout stent trial results

Results were rolled out at an industry conference.
With its acquisition of Mazor Robotics, Medtronic hopes to tap into a global market for spinal surgery products that will grow as the population ages.

Medtronic bets big on benefits of robots in operating room

Using robotic-assisted equipment can improve precision, lessen complications.

FDA move could lead to broader use for Medtronic valve

A label change could expand the market for the device maker's CoreValve Evolut system.

Feds continue to monitor Medtronic plant in Puerto Rico linked to recall

Recalled ICD devices made at Puerto Rico facility had potential electrical flaws.
Julius C. Smith

Julius Smith, who played role in founding of Jonathan, dies at 88

As a lover of history, Jules Smith also was fascinated with the new, playing a key role in the founding of a first-of-its-kind community in…
From left to right are Kevin McInotsh, president and Marcus Super, director or marketing & sales at Summit Medical, headquartered in St. Paul, Minneso

Developed at the U, wiring jaws without the wires

Developed at the U, the jaw-fixation system uses less-invasive zip-ties that can be removed quickly and without surgery
This patient carries around a battery-powered and surgically implanted heart pump.

A prescription to fight hackers: FDA to bolster medical-device security

Industry, officials work to boost security of medical devices.
Minnetronix Medical’s manufacturing facility in St. Paul services more than 25 dedicated medical-device product lines for its various med-tech clien

Contract med-tech manufacturer Minnetronix to launch own device

The St. Paul firm is developing a product that removes contaminants in the cerebral spinal fluid after a hemorrhagic stroke.
Boston Scientific has been ramping up investments in men’s health in recent years, including in Minnesota.

Boston Scientific to pay up to $600M to acquire Augmenix

Sales of Augmenix's SpaceOAR hydrogel are projected to nearly double in the next year.
Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy said shortages of essential generic drugs calls for a “mission-driven” collaboration among health systems like Civ

Mayo Clinic, other hospitals launching generic drug maker Civica Rx

The nonprofit will focus on older drugs that have become scarce and pricey.
Huge crowds seen at the Minnesota State Fair.

Saturday breaks all-time record for single-day fair attendance

The State Fair broke an all-time attendance record Saturday, with 270,426 people walking through its gates. Sunday's attendance figure wasn't immediately available, but by Monday, the fair could easily meet or even break its overall attendance record and hit the 2 million mark.
These are two images of an actual patient's liver, comparing an image from Resoundant's magnetic resonance elastrography, or MRE scan, on the left, wi

Mayo-backed Resoundant gains traction with tool to diagnose liver disease

As liver diseases grow, the noninvasive scan provides an alternative to a biopsy.
A Covidien logo sits on the glass windows of the office in Dublin, Ireland, that became the legal headquarters of Medtronic in its acquisition of that

Judge gives Medtronic shareholders another chance in lawsuit over Covidien deal

Class action's plaintiffs say executives knew $50 billion deal would cost shareholders.

Urotronic raises $20M to complete device trials, expand manufacturing

Plymouth-based medical technology startup Urotronic has raised $20 million in its effort to invent a better way to treat urethral problems.A joint venture of Hillhouse…
Boston Scientific Corp. is betting more than $100 million on a small California company with a product that’s not yet legal to sell in the United St

Boston Scientific, Medtronic fill venture funding gap for med-tech startups

By injecting money early in the game, they hope to groom the next big product.
Medtronic shares rose as the company's latest results beat analysts' expectations.

Medtronic handily beats Wall Street quarterly earnings forecasts

Medtronic's popular medical devices power strong quarterly results.
Medtronic’s EV ICD system delivers high-voltage shocks to restart the heart or re-establish normal rhythm without using wires that physically touch

Medtronic testing defibrillator that uses wires outside the heart, veins

Devices can reset heart rhythms without using wires in the heart.
A federal appeals court has tossed out a $1.4 billion Tax Court ruling favoring Medtronic in a dispute about the value of heart devices made in Puerto

Federal appeals court tosses out $1.4B tax ruling favorable to Medtronic

IRS officials say the company has shifted income on paper to lower its tax bill.
Medtronic corporate campus

Scrutiny continues as Medtronic acknowledges cybersecurity issues with its medical devices

Critics say company has been slow to act on medical devices' cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

BioSig gets approval for U.S. sales of surgery device

The device, to be made by St. Paul-based Minnetronix, gives doctors a clearer view of how a heart surgery is going.
Varshini Venkatesan in one of the many labs at Takeda in Brooklyn Park. The Japanese pharmaceutical company’s new 215,000-square-foot drug-manufactu

Takeda is banking on a SuperTarget-sized biologic plant in Brooklyn Park

Takeda hopes to begin making its Entyvio drug for bowel diseases at its Brooklyn Park plant next year
Dr. Christian Dameff, an emergency medicine doctor in San Diego and self-described hacker, speaks to an audience at Medtronic’s Mounds View campus a

At seminar, Medtronic employees told cybersecurity is a 'team sport'

Hackers a persistent threat to patient safety, demanding vigilance.
FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2005, the "Rising Man" symbol stands in front of Medtronic in Fridley.

In bid for diabetes market, Medtronic, among others, talking money

Focus is on long-term value, cost of pumps and monitors.
Boston Scientific said its second-quarter profit rose 28 percent.

Boston Scientific beats Q2 earnings expectations

Company maintained its financial guidance for year.
Medtronic sign

Medtronic agrees to pay $43M to settle investor lawsuit

The device maker denies the allegations made against Infuse product.

Boston Scientific to pay up to $270M to acquire Claret Medical

California firm makes device that aims to reduce post-operation strokes.

Abbott Labs sees big upside for its FreeStyle Libre glucose monitor

Strong growth for its diabetes unit was key to driving second quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.
Medtronic voluntarily sent out alerts in June.

Medtronic says thousands of heart devices need software upgrades

About 39,000 defibrillators and pacemakers are affected by what regulators have classified as a Class 2 recall.
Medtronic headquarters (Dreamstime/TNS)

Medtronic insulin pumps show promise for reducing hospitalizations

Early study results of 6,000 diabetic patients showed a drop in hospital visits.

Med-tech trade group takes aim at device tax

Media blitz aims to boost support for a repeal.
St. Jude Medical's Quadra Assura MP(TM) CRT-D

Cybersecurity upgrades eyed for 740,000 St. Jude-made defibrillators

Abbott advises patients to get updates at next scheduled doctor visit.
Robert Grathwol

Robert Grathwol, who helped many people battle alcoholism, dies at 62

Following tumult in the 1960s and '70s, Bob's sobriety in the 1980s became an example for others.
Boston Scientific is buying Cryterion Medical, owner of an invention that uses a burst of cold to the heart to treat atrial fibrillation, for $200 mil

Boston Scientific to pay $202 million to acquire Cryterion Medical

The California company is developing a treatment for atrial fibrillation.
Relievant Medsystems CEO Kevin Hykes shows the spot on the spine where energy is applied for certain forms of lower back pain.

Relievant Medsystems settles into Twin Cities, sees big promise for back treatment

CEO is setting up shop in Twin Cities, looking to grab part of $20 billion market.
Production technicians manufacture hematology controls at Bio-Techne. The company purchased Exosome Diagnostics for $250 million.

BioTechne snaps up Exosome Diagnostics in $250M deal

Mpls.-based firm pursuing Boston company's biopsy-free cancer detection tech.
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