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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
John Hetterick, former CEO of Rollerblade and disability-rights activitst, who died suddenly an hour before his grand-daughter’s baby shower at his

John F. Hetterick, former PepsiCo and Rollerblade executive, dies at age 74

It was a baby shower unlike any other.Late last month, guests bearing baby gifts arrived at the Plymouth home of John and Kathe Hetterick, whose…
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Hospital trade group wants Minn. to investigate Blue Cross Blue Shield

The group representing 141 hospitals says the insurer's policies can make it very difficult to access health care services.
The FDA issued an alert on Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps.

FDA recalls Medtronic 600-series MiniMed insulin pumps

Alert says Medtronic's MiniMed device could malfunction on airplanes.
CEO Jeff Ross, seen at Miromatrix headquarters in Eden Prairie in 2017, said the goal of the spinoff is to build sales for two products cleared by the

Miromatrix spins out a company, steps up focus on bioengineered organs for humans

Reprise Biomedical will focus on device maker's hernia and wound-repair products.
SPR Therapeutics’ Sprint peripheral nerve stimulation system is constructed using a tiny 100-micron wire, about the size of a human hair.

SPR Therapeutics' neuromodulation system treats phantom-limb pain

Minnesota-made system has created long-lasting pain relief in trials.
Pictured is Medtronic’s MiniMed 508 insulin pump.

Medtronic: Older insulin pumps are vulnerable to hackers

Medtronic is warning thousands of users worldwide that the devices may contain a serious cybersecurity vulnerability allowing a malicious hacker to change drug-delivery settings.
This 2018 file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silver Spring, Md.

FDA releases millions of records of incidents involving medical devices

The previously undisclosed records were filed by device makers from 1999 to April.

FDA panel sees link between paclitaxel devices, patient death risk

Experts worry that its use for blocked leg arteries is linked to patient deaths.

After review of paclitaxel risks, FDA panel recommends more data

Seek more data to assess a rise in deaths and update product labels to reflect potential deaths, experts tell regulators after 2-day hearing.
A peripheral stent was made by Boston Scientific and designed in Maple Grove. September 2, 2015 in Maple Grove, MN.

Twin Cities companies have a lot riding on FDA's decision on drug-coated stents

Paclitaxel-coated variation proved troubling after a close look at trial results.
Medtronic, which is run from operational headquarters in Fridley, has more than 750,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Mexico, roughly 8% of th

Medical device makers in Minnesota, U.S. brace for tariff fallout

The cost of components from Mexico could soar by tens of millions a month.
Mike Magee, author of "Code Blue"

A doctor exposes dysfunction in U.S. health care in 'Code Blue'

NONFICTION: "Code Blue" reveals long-standing, intractable problems.
The new report shows 2% of patients with Biotronik’s Orsiro stent needed a “revascularization” within three years.

Is a thinner stent a better stent? Device makers are trying to find out

A recent study bolstered an 'ultra thin' model developed by a German device maker, but Medtronic and Boston Sci aren't convinced.
Medtronic's MiniMed 670G “hybrid closed-loop” system.

Medtronic touts promising trial results for its 670G insulin pump

Device maker says insulin pump can reduce roller coaster of highs and lows.
Katrina Anderson, co-founder and CEO, ClinicianNexus
The Minneapolis company is a software provider that helps track health system workers’ training

Health care software CEO talks about training challenges facing health systems

Doctors and other health professionals can’t learn everything in the classroom — at least half of a student’s undergraduate medical education happens in hospitals and…
Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak. The company beat profit expectations in the latest period but sales of its biggest product category, heart-rhythm devices,

Medtronic beats profit expectations despite declining heart device sales

CEO calls the performance a "solid finish" to fiscal year.
FILE - This Aug. 2, 2018 file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silv

FDA hidden database included 37,000 reports of problems with Medtronic defibrillator wires

Some 37,000 defibrillator reports at issue; Medtronic says doctors notified.
Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Hospitals on alert to fix potential cybersecurity risk

Microsoft has made available a security patch for operating systems, even those it doesn't support anymore, to prevent a ransomware attack.

CVRx data show its device can benefit heart-failure patients

In a first, Minnesota medical device maker CVRx presented data at an influential medical meeting over the weekend showing that its implantable Barostim Neo electric-stimulation…

Victims left in the dark after breach at obscure health care data firm

An obscure firm was behind the disclosure of information.
Doug Kohrs, one of the founders of Responsive Orothopedics, pictured in 2016 with an artificial knee developed by the company.

Medtronic shuts division aimed at offering lower-cost orthopedic implants

Medical device maker cited shifting market dynamics for the move.
Medtronic's Fridley headquarters.

After patient death, FDA warns of battery depletion in Medtronic pacemakers

The rare issue may affect five Medtronic models.
Minnesota is a hotbed for clinical research into using devices to treat high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is billion-dollar target for device makers

Companies, including Minnesota's Medtronic, say it could be a billion-dollar industry.
Maple Grove biotech firm joins federal effort on opioid abuse

Maple Grove biotech firm joins federal effort on opioid abuse

Maple Grove biotech firm teams with NIH to assess how human brain cells respond to the drugs.
Medtronic's Fridley headquarters

Medtronic cuts jobs in cardio and vascular devices group

The device maker didn't specify the number of jobs affected in Minnesota.
Boston Scientific's profit rose during the first three months of the year, though not as much as some investors expected.

Boston Scientific shares poised for tumble amid mixed results

The medical device maker acknowledged some key challenges ahead.

Linked to deaths, surgical staplers get closer look from FDA

Medtronic, the leading supplier of surgical staplers, said it has confidence in its devices when used as directed.
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 top honors in device organization 'Shark Tank' competition

Startup is using University of Minnesota technology to develop a balloon device to treat pulmonary hypertension.
Kevin Fu

Possibilities, risks explored at U's annual medical device design conference

The widely attended event looks at both the risks posed by hackers and potential for new technology to change lives.

Abbott Labs earnings exceed expectations, but investors unimpressed

Despite strong quarterly numbers, analysts want to see more upside going forward.
The FDA ordered mesh devices for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse off the market. The decision affects products by several manufacturers, including

After injuries, FDA orders pelvic mesh off the market

The decision includes products sold by Minnesota's Coloplast and Boston Scientific.
Protesters rallied outside Sterigenics’ Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters in 2018. In February, the Illinois EPA ordered the firm to stop using ethylene

Sterilization plant closure in Illinois is a challenge for Minnesota medical device makers

Many have been forced to find other locations to sterilize their products.

Medical robotics startup HistoSonics raises $54M

Startup HistoSonics raises $54M, plans to expand operations in Twin Cities.

All of records erased, doctor's office closes after ransomware attack

Michigan ransomware attack is worst-case scenario for providers.

Medtronic, Blue Cross sign glucose monitor deal linked to patient outcomes

Some patients could end up paying less for monitor.
Yonder co-founders Dr. Courtney Hill, left, and Adam Choe are already working with their first client, Laganis Pediatric Dentistry in Maple Grove.

New app Yonder, developed at U, takes a bite out of kids' dental anxieties

Yonder, a company started at the U, has developed an app aimed at helping kids navigate a trip to the dentist.
Scott Gottlieb, then President Donald Trump's pick for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washin

FDA says secret files on medical device problems will be opened to public

Agency chief disclosed the intention a week before his expected departure.

Twin Cities' Smiths Medical to spin off from British parent company

Medical firm will be based in U.K., retain operational HQ in the Twin Cities.
The Medtronic CareLink 2090 Programmer is a portable computer system used to program and manage cardiac devices in clinic and during implant. The devi

750,000 Medtronic defibrillators are vulnerable to hacking

The Homeland Security Department, which oversees security in critical U.S. infrastructure including medical devices, issued an alert.

High stakes for Surmodics as safety concerns swirl over certain drug-coated stents

Eden Prairie company has clinical trials for similar products underway, and key payments at risk.
Medtronic's development of a less-invasive heart-valve replacement got a boost from new research.

Study results back wider use of alternative heart-valve treatment

Medtronic, Edwards Lifesciences touted data showing outcomes for their systems.
Smiths Medical employees Mary Prihoda, Charlie Arnold and Brad Davis assembled Hotline Fluid Warmer devices at the company’s Oakdale plant.

Future of Smiths Medical to be disclosed this week

Device maker employs 850 people in Minnesota.

Med-tech trade group launches online cybersecurity tool

AdvaMed said its communication tool will help the industry share insight on ongoing issues.
Medtronic's Fridley complex.

Medtronic to pay $20M to settle kickback allegations

The case involved inducements to doctors provided by Covidien before its 2015 sale to Medtronic.

New European law causing headache for Minnesota med-tech companies

Some firms could pull products from Europe, while others might not compete there at all.
An app created by PerkHealth, the University of Minnesota and Fairview HealthEast Kidney Stone Institute took top honors in a federal competition call

Award-winning health care app updating paper questionnaires to smartphone age

Partnership between doctors treating kidney stones, Perk Motivation and the University of Minnesota won the federal government's Step Up App Challenge.
St. Jude Medical corporate headquarters, in Little Canada.

Study finds wires in St. Jude defibrillators vulnerable to malfunction

The devices' maker stands behind Durata leads' long-term safety and durability, and the devices remain on the market.
Dr. Eiman Shafa of the Twin Cities Spine Center, left, demonstrated the use of Medtronic’s Mazor X robotically navigated spine-surgery system Tuesda

Medtronic Mazor X robotic surgery system enters medical mainstream

Abbott Northwestern, Mayo are among the hospitals using the new Medtronic technology.
The Piccolo, originally designed by St. Jude Medical, is the smallest transcatheter device ever approved for pediatric patients, just larger than Roos

Tiny medical device designed in Minnesota repairs the tiniest hearts

Abbott Laboratories' new transcatheter is the first approved for premature infants.
Andrew Barton, an advanced nurse practitioner in the U.K., demonstrated how the Veinplicity medical device is used with a real patient. The device app

Minnesota-made Veinplicity device aims to make IV access easier

A Minnesota-designed device aims to make IV access easier by using electric stimulation to make veins more prominent.
Medtronic's diverse portfolio of products paid off with bigger sales amid demand shifts in the November-to-January period.

Medtronic's broad mix of devices yields sales, profit hikes in latest period

This was a quarter that showed the benefits of Medtronic's array of products. It saw some weakness in heart-rhythm devices and spinal products, but that was offset somewhat by growth in minimally-invasive therapies and products for surgical wounds.
Medtronic's Fridley headquarters. ORG XMIT: MIN1603221844561569

Medtronic says deaths omitted from analysis of paclitaxel-coated device

Inadvertent omission has no effect on safety analyses, company says.
Several research teams are experimenting with implantable spinal cord stimulators like these to restore movement after paralysis.

Spinal cord stimulator shows promise with some paralyzed patients in Mpls. study

Local study reports early success with stimulator implant from Abbott Labs.
Kevin Varner, a self-taught scientist and artist, dies at 65. He is the second from left, darker shirt, with plastic rimmed glasses.

Kevin Thomas Varner, self-taught science enthusiast, dies at 65

It was just after Christmas last year when Kevin Thomas Varner received the jolting news of his impending death. The news prompted the machine operator…
The Watchman device was developed in the Twin Cities by Aritech, which was bought by Boston Scientific.

Boston Scientific shares rise nearly 3 percent after earnings beat expectations

Sales of cardiovascular devices rose 7.7 percent during the last quarter.
Relievant Medsystems CEO Kevin Hykes demonstrates where radiofrequency energy is applied to sever the basivertebral nerve, in yellow, during the “In

Relievant Medsystems touts strong results from back pain treatment study

Clinical trial for device by Relievant Medsystems helps patients quickly.

Medtronic device to detect lung cancer shows promise in study

"The ability to diagnose early and stage in a single procedure may improve survival and reduce treatment costs," study authors wrote

Judge tosses lawsuit seeking damages linked to defective St. Jude heart devices

The plaintiffs were seeking damages over defective heart devices.
Dr. Clark Chen, a neurosurgeon at the University of Minnesota, uses a device made by Monteris Medical to remove tumors from the brainstem.

Minnesota-developed device saves brain cancer patients. But what's next?

Monteris Medical studies changes in patients who have faced mortality.

Abbott Labs laments slowed sales growth in devices to treat chronic pain

After buying St. Jude Medical, the company has seen the figures cool.

Medtronic, other devicemakers defend safety of paclitaxel devices

Medtronic data find no correlation in paclitaxel exposure, mortality risk.

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.
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