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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 15, 2005

UI Physicians Perform World's First Magnetic Lung Surgery

Physicians at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics announced today a major step forward in the use of a revolutionary magnetic guidance system to evaluate patients with lung disorders.

A team of UI Department of Internal Medicine specialists, led by Geoffrey McLennan, M.D., and including David Riker, M.D., Scott Ferguson, M.D. and Kim Sprenger, a registered nurse and clinical research coordinator, recently performed the world's first magnetically guided procedure in the human lung.

Located in one of UI Heart Care's heart catheterization laboratories, the system is the first one offered to Iowans, the seventh system available nationwide and the 11th system in use in the world. Produced by Stereotaxis, Inc., the magnetic surgery system was co-invented by Matthew Howard III, M.D., professor and head of the UI Department of Neurosurgery.

The system features two, 1,000-pound, superconducting magnetic assemblies and advanced computer imaging technology. Using a joystick, physicians navigate a magnetically tipped catheter (a small tube) through the body with great precision, accessing hard-to-reach blood vessels and treating rhythm problems in the chambers of the heart.

"True leadership and teamwork made this groundbreaking advance possible," Howard said. "All Iowans can be proud of this remarkable achievement."

Howard conceived the idea as a medical student. Working collaboratively with physicists and neurosurgeons, the current clinical system developed over a period of many years. The idea was to eliminate the need for mechanical controls of medical devices and instead use magnetic forces to guide implants. This concept, combined with advanced medical imaging techniques, high-speed computers and magnetic manipulation techniques, allows physicians to perform procedures with a computer joystick.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,