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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ponce hospital marks technological milestone



The SynchroMed III drug delivery pump, created by Medtronic, is used for the treatment of chronic pain, cancer or other conditions, and severe spasticity.

By The Star Staff


San Lucas Episcopal Medical Center (CMESL by its Spanish initials) became the first hospital institution in Puerto Rico and Latin America to implant a patient with the new SynchroMed III drug delivery pump, the hospital announced Wednesday.


The device, created by the company Medtronic, is used for the treatment of chronic pain, cancer or other conditions, and severe spasticity. The procedure was performed by Dr. José Cruz Cestero, an anesthesiologist.


“Today we take an important step in the field of medicine, with an innovative product with which we will provide a better quality of life to our patients,” said Dr. Edgar Domenech, medical director of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, in a written statement.


The SynchroMed III implantable system was approved in 2023 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and was developed to relieve symptoms by delivering the drug directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.


It is surgically placed between the skin and muscle, and the medication is delivered through a catheter connected to a programmable, battery-operated pump. Patients with SynchroMed III will continue to have access to diagnostic imaging through whole-body MRI conditionality. In addition, the patient has fewer side effects and a high degree of medical control compared to oral medication.


“This new procedure fills our hospital with pride, making us pioneers with the most advanced technologies and world-class medical advancements,” said Rafael Alvarado Noriega, the operational executive director at CMESL.

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