• Cardiovascular

    Mayo Clinic innovator helps patients, is inducted as fellow in National Academy of Inventors

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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Samuel Asirvatham, M.D., was inducted as a fellow into the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. Dr. Asirvatham is a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and electrophysiologist, with joint appointments in Pediatric Cardiology, Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, and Anatomy. He is a professor of medicine and pediatrics in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

portrait of Dr. Samuel Asirvatham
Samuel Asirvatham, M.D.

National Academy of Inventors fellows embody a spirit of innovation, and create or facilitate outstanding inventions that have made tangible effects on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

"What is truly unique about the expertise of Dr. Asirvatham is the depth and breadth of his knowledge, embodied in the multiple spheres of medical science in which he has patents and tangible technologies," says Clark Otley, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Business Development.

Not only does Dr. Asirvatham develop ideas, but also he executes them. He and his teams have successfully developed these ideas to the point where they help patients. Dr. Asirvatham has produced 212 invention disclosures, filed 203 patents, issued 59 patents, and licensed or optioned 40 technologies that have improved people's health.

Dr. Asirvatham has deep expertise in catheter navigation and electrical systems that affect the heart. But his keen interest in neuroelectrophysiology has led him to imagine and apply innovations beyond cardiology.

He brought together a team of engineers, neurologists and electrophysiologist imagers to develop a catheter-based navigation system to locally treat brain tissues causing seizures. Not only does this approach avoid the need for brain surgery, it also allows for transcatheter treatment of areas that cannot be reached by surgery.

Teamwork, and the sharing of knowledge and skills, are instrumental to Dr. Asirvatham's successes. Over the years, he has worked with:

  • Pulmonologists to apply ablative therapy and energy delivery to treat asthma.
  • Gastroenterologists to develop new treatments for obesity.
  • Neurologists to develop a therapy to stimulate nerves to alleviate pain.
  • Cardiologists to develop a device for left atrial appendage ligation to prevent stroke. The left atrial appendage is a small sac in the left side of the heart where many blood clots originate during heart surgeries.
  • Signal processing engineers, cardiologists, nephrologists and others to develop noninvasive, artificial intelligence-based algorithms to determine blood level potassium.

"Dr. Asirvatham exemplifies the values of Mayo Clinic. Every action he takes along the inventive pathway begins and ends with: How can this help the lives of patients? He teaches others the steps to innovation so that they, too, can help not only the patients of today, but also the patients of tomorrow," says Paul Friedman, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Asirvatham joins a fellowship of academic inventors and innovators who have made outstanding contributions to innovation through patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant effects on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Recently, Dr. Asirvatham also received the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Inventor Award.

Three Mayo Clinic physicians have previously been inducted as fellows in the National Academy of Inventors: the late David Ahlquist, M.D., Department of Gastroenterology, 2019; Richard Ehman, M.D., Department of Radiology, 2016; and Michael Yaszemski, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 2014.


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