OUTCOMES RESEARCH

The Best of Both Worlds

Applying design thinking to surgical devices
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Maham Rahimi cardiovascular surgeon
Maham Rahimi, MD, combines his training as a surgeon and an engineer to explore new technologies for transforming treatments.
While his schedule doesn’t allow time to engineer products, Rahimi is a key opinion leader who provides clinical expertise on surgical devices designed to improve patient outcomes. One device benefiting from his guidance is Odin Technologies’ Valkyrie, which Rahimi can see has potential for powerful applications in multiple specialties.

Rahimi’s collaboration on the Valkyrie came out of a TMCx event in August 2018, when he met Steven Hansen, CEO and co-founder of Odin Technologies. By mid-February, Hansen had an agreement with Houston Methodist and early experiments with the device were underway. Currently, the Valkyrie is being tested in preclinical models in the Comparative Medicine Program. The availability of translational resources has helped it progress quickly through the cycle of development.
The Valkyrie is a non-invasive, wearable diagnostic device that monitors blood flow in the lower extremities. It was designed for trauma patients who run the risk of compartment syndrome, a dangerous condition that can cause permanent nerve damage. Traditional treatment relies on physicians using subjective palpation methods that require constant reassessment coupled with invasive needle injections to monitor muscle compartment pressure. This leads to patients getting a delayed diagnosis for compartment syndrome, resulting in nerve damage, muscle decay, amputation and even death.

Odin Technologies’ Steven Hansen identified the need for the Valkyrie when working as a rehabilitation specialist in sports medicine at Purdue University. Hansen, a certified athletic trainer with a masters of science from Northwestern University, was working with patients who underwent traditional palpation methods that sometimes required insertion of a 16-gauge needle multiple times. After seeing the effect on patients, Hansen began exploring alternatives, which led to the invention of the Valkyrie. He is now working with Houston Methodist surgeon Maham Rahimi, MD, to validate the device.

Odin Technologies won first place at Insight's 2018 Health Tech Startup Competition, the people’s choice award at Health Tech Austin Startup Summit, and first place in the diagnostic track at the MedCity Invest Competition in Chicago, IL. Odin Technologies was one of only 23 companies selected to participate in the TMCx four-month program in fall of 2018.

“My experience with the Houston Methodist Research Institute has been phenomenal. Since working with Dr. Rahimi, the business has really taken off. Houston Methodist strives to facilitate our needs and provide us with the expertise necessary to produce a product that the end user wants—something designed by health care providers, for health care providers,” said Hansen.
I am busy on a high-volume team, also teaching residents and medical students, but I am establishing myself as an academic vascular surgeon. It is challenging but doable.
Maham Rahimi, MD, PhD, RPV
Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences
DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center Houston Methodist
Steven Hansen of Odin Technologies holds the wearable diagnostic device that monitors blood flow in a trauma patient’s lower extremities.
Maham Rahimi, MD, PhD, RPVI, has found the perfect place to pursue his passion: combining engineering and medicine to bring the best clinical care to patients. As a cardiovascular surgeon at Houston Methodist Surgery Associates, he faces some of the most intricate surgical challenges, while he applies the thought processes of an engineer to explore new technologies for transforming treatments. Rahimi received a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before earning his medical degree at Texas Tech University, followed by a residency at the University of Cincinnati. He was drawn to Houston Methodist when, as a third-year visiting vascular surgery fellow at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, he discovered the translational resources available to internal investigators. Now, as a member of the Center, where he teaches the next generation of vascular surgery fellows, he faces the challenge shared by many of Houston Methodist’s inventive physicians: not having enough time in the day.
– LaVonne Carlson, October 2019
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