NIH News Release
Office of Medical Applications of Research

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Wednesday, January 5, 2000
OMAR Communications Office
(301) 496-4819
NHLBI Communications Office
(301) 496-4236

NIH Conference to Assess State of Medical Implants
Research Information on Implant Performance Lacking in the U.S.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a Technology Assessment Conference (TAC) to look at barriers and opportunities to developing systems for implant retrieval analysis and data banking. The TAC will be conducted January 10-12, 2000 in the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

It is estimated that 8 to 10 percent of the American population currently has a permanent medical implant. Retrieving and evaluating medical implants provides the only true long-term data on how a patient's body responds to hosting an implant, as well as the final condition of the implant. Even so, there has not been any systematic effort developed in the United States for implant retrieval analysis or data banking. The objective of the conference is to assess the opportunities and challenges to developing a framework for independent research of medical implants retrieved after surgery or at autopsy.

Titled, "Improving Medical Implant Performance Through Retrieval Information: Challenges and Opportunities," the conference will bring together specialists in surgery, pathology, engineering, biomaterials, information systems, and other related disciplines, as well as representatives from the public, legal, ethical, and industrial communities.

The conference will address the following key questions:

The lead NIH agencies sponsoring the conference are the Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

After all presentations and audience discussions, an independent, non-Federal technology assessment panel co-chaired by Edward N. Brandt, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Regents Professor and Director, Center for Health Policy, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Julia Weertman, D.Sc., Walter P. Murphy Professor Emerita, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, will weigh the scientific evidence and write a draft statement that it will present to conference attendees.

Following discussion of the draft statement by conference attendees on January 12, the panel will meet in executive session to finalize their statement. A press conference from 1:00-2:00 PM on January 12 will conclude the Technology Assessment Conference.

The Technology Assessment Conference will be broadcast live, on the Internet via the NIH Videocast Web site at A minimum 150kpbs is required.

For a list of presenters and panelists, to see the agenda, and to register online for the January 12 press conference, go to the TAC Web site at Indicate that you are registering for the press conference.

Members of the press who are unable to attend in person may participate in the press conference via the Internet at the NIH Videocast Web site listed above. Reporters may submit questions by phone (301-480-5961), fax (301-480-5962) or email ( However, we cannot guarantee that all such questions will be answered during the conference. If you plan to participate via the Internet, please call the NHLBI Communications Office at 301/496-4236.

Please call 301-592-3320 if you plan to attend the press conference in person.