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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

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.
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.
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