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June 16, 2021

Innovative start-up Atrility sees growth for its AtriAmp device

Atrility Medical, the innovative healthcare start-up company launched by UW Health pediatric cardiologist Nick Von Bergen, MD, has reached several notable milestones during the first half of 2021.

As described in a 2020 article, Atrility’s signature device – the AtriAmp – provides continuous, real-time displays of the heart’s atrial signals.

For patients, including babies, children and some adults, this means better outcomes because precious minutes are not wasted waiting for results from a time-consuming electrocardiogram (ECG).

Several recent developments bolster Atrility’s outlook, including (1) a financial investment in Atrility by Isthmus Project, UW Health’s innovation hub; (2) the hiring of Atrility’s president and CEO, Dave Kaysen; (3) UW Health becoming Atrility’s first customer, meaning that patients are already benefiting from use of the device at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison; and (4) winning the grand prize of the 18th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Elizabeth Hagerman, Ph.D., Isthmus Project’s Executive Director and Chief Innovation Officer for UW Health, says the financial investment was made based on the great promise of the AtriAmp device.

“Dr. Von Bergen identified an unmet need in his own practice and, with his team, built a solution to improve the level of care available to patients of UW Health’s Pediatric Heart Program,” Hagerman says.

“Our goal at Isthmus Project is to support UW-based health care innovation, so as we saw opportunity, Isthmus Project was eager to support Atrility in the next stage of growth and continued product development.”

Dave Kaysen

In March 2021, Atrility hired a new CEO, Dave Kaysen, whose 35 years of experience with small med-tech enterprises has already proven highly valuable.

Kaysen credits Von Bergen’s original four-person team for producing an “elegant little product” with unlimited potential for growth.

“I was very impressed with what Nick and his team have done, which is why I was thrilled to sign on,” Kaysen says. “From design development to proto-typing to clearing the regulatory process to production, this small team rapidly advanced a value-added product in a relatively short window of time. Feedback from hospitals that are using the product on a trial basis has been very positive. We think the market for AtriAmp will only grow in the coming few years. Our job is to go out and make it happen.”

Kaysen is also excited to display the AtriAmp device in July at Heart Rhythm 2021, a convention in Boston sponsored by Heart Rhythm Society, a leading resource on cardiac pacing and electrophysiology. HRS

Not long after Kaysen became CEO, UW Health became Atrility’s first customer, making the AtriAmp device available in caring for babies and small children after having open-heart surgery. Physicians on the front lines confirm the value AtriAmp is adding to the care of babies and children in the pivotal hours and days following surgery.

“This is an extraordinary device,” says UW Health pediatric cardiologist Kathleen Maginot, MD. “We can immediately pinpoint the cause of an arrhythmia after a patient comes out of surgery. The AtriAmp allows us to evaluate detailed heart signals continuously rather than intermittently, then we can intervene right away when a patient might be in trouble. The consensus among our staff is, ‘How did we ever get by without it?’”

Maginot’s pediatric cardiology colleague, Dr. Margaret Greco, knows a good product when she sees one, having studied product design as an undergraduate.

“AtriAmp saves time while freeing up our busy colleagues who had to drop everything to do an ECG or atrial electrogram,” Greco says. “By greatly magnifying the heart’s electrical signals, we can catch problems much earlier and treat them accordingly.”