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Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the world's largest medical technology company. Listed among Fortune 500 companies, Medtronic is a publicly traded company and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MDT. The company was founded in 1949 by Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie and is credited with manufacturing the first wearable artificial pacemakers. However, they started off with much more modest intentions, acting as a repair company, servicing medical equipment in local hospitals. Medtronic's main competitors for cardiac devices are Guidant (now a division of Boston Scientific) and St. Jude Medical.
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Medtronic followed a path familiar to technology historians, starting in a garage in northern Minneapolis. The company expanded through the 1950s, mostly selling equipment built by other companies, but some custom hardware was also developed. The employees eventually came to know Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a noted heart surgeon who was then at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lillehei was frustrated with the pacemakers of the day, which relied on wall current to operate. This was extremely troublesome because power outages would cause patients to die.
Bakken built a small transistorized pacemaker that could be strapped to the body and powered by batteries. Work into this new field continued, producing an implantable pacemaker in 1960.
The company has continued to innovate in the medical business and is considered an economically-important company for Minnesota. A key attribute in understanding the company is that it remains very focused on the mission originally written by co-founder Earl Bakken in the early-1960s. The first paragraph of the 6 paragraph mission statement reads:
"To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life."
Medtronic makes a wide array of implantable electronic devices, from the relatively common ICD or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, to devices for managing urinary incontinence and obesity to name just a few.
Medtronic Diabetes is the diabetes management manufacturing and sales division of Medtronic based in Northridge, California. The original company Minimed Technologies was founded in the early 1980s and spun-off from Pacesetter Systems, in order to design a practical insulin pump for lifelong wear. Most devices at the time were either too large or impossible to program and extremely unreliable. The release of the lightweight, menu-driven MiniMed 500 series changed the landscape, and was a major factor in bringing pump usage to the mainstream. By the early 2000s Medtronic had bought out Minimed to form Medtronic Minimed.
Current models consist of the MiniMed Paradigm 522/722. It is the first Insulin Pump which integrates continuous glucose monitoring, allowing patients to see in real time their glucose level. As well as insulin pumps Medtronic Diabetes also makes Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems (CGMS) for use as a stand alone system or integrated into their Minimed Paradigm 522/722 series pumps. Medtronic Diabetes also makes a large range of accessories and components for their insulin pump and CGMS products.
As of March 2007 the MiniMed name has begun to be absorbed into the parent company, Medtronic. Medtronic has kept the MiniMed name to brand their insulin pumps, for example: The MiniMed Paradigm 722. Medtronic frequently uses Medtronic Diabetes as the name for the division, it is unclear to the extent the division will be integrated into Medtronic, as it still maintains its own website. Many products and marketing material still say Medtronic MiniMed, as the brand is being phased out.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medtronic". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.