Dr. John A. Pacey, MD FRCS(C) and Mr. Awni Ayoubi,P. Eng. founded Saturn Biomedical Systems Inc.in 1998 to specialize in the practical research, development and supply of new and improved medical devices and instruments to be used in association with surgical procedures.
Saturn commenced operations in January 1999 and introduced the first GlideScope video laryngoscope to the market in late 2001. The company was acquired by Diagnostic Ultrasound in January 2006. Both firms, acknowledging this new combined business and wider product portfolio, changed their names to Verathon® in October 2006. In late 2009 Verathon became a subsidiary of Roper Industries.
In his capacity as a vascular surgeon, Dr. J. Pacey, inventor and researcher recognized a clear need for improvement in anesthesia intubations. The outcome of this was a new product development program in Canada to integrate imaging technology with laryngoscopy to provide appropriate access space and reliable visualization to aid in intubation of difficult airways.
As background, an estimated 40-50 million anesthetics are administered each year in North America and as many again worldwide. In up to fifty percent of cases, it is necessary for anesthesia and emergency specialists to place an endotracheal tube for purposes of controlling respiration. This can be a challenging and dangerous activity and assistive devices are sometimes necessary.
Traditional laryngoscopes have been used for placement of endotracheal tubes in the practice of anesthesia for about one hundred years. However, their requirement for "Line Of Sight" maneuvers induces neck flexion, head extension, laryngeal depression and other stress related movements.
Numerous accessories have since been introduced to facilitate intubation. While they have offered advantages, they also created disadvantages in certain situations complicated by blind techniques, skill requirements, aspiration and blood and secretion.
The pioneering work of Dr. Pacey and his team in Canada resulted in the introduction of the innovative GlideScope video laryngoscope in late 2001. Thanks to this major innovation in the field of airway management, video laryngoscopy has now become a routine practice in health care facilities worldwide.