Amanda Gray | August 3, 2019
Though Vampiro’s name might bring about images of vampires, the medical device’s purpose means less operating room time and fewer surgical site infections for patients.
But, like vampires, Vampiro is designed for sucking blood — as well as other bodily fluids during laparoscopic surgery.
Thanks to Notre Dame Law School’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic, the father-daughter team behind Vampiro was able to obtain a patent and get the device out on the market, helping surgeons work with patients across the country.
Notre Dame alumnus Steven Santanello ’77, who is a surgeon in Ohio, invented Vampiro. The idea came to him during a 2 a.m. appendectomy he was performing. The procedure was complex and resulted in a large amount of fluid in the patient’s body cavity, which has the potential to cause post-surgery complications for patients.
Dr. Santanello developed the device with his daughter Abbey Santanello ’15, ’16 M.S., who worked on the project while earning her master’s degree through Notre Dame’s ESTEEM program. She explained that there is nothing else quite like Vampiro on the market, in terms of suction of this type for laparoscopic surgery. Vampiro — named after the Italian word for “vampire,” as the Santanellos are Italian-American — is meant to provide “poole suction,” or suction of larger amounts of blood and bodily fluids that “spot suction” tools can’t handle. This can help mitigate the need for a surgeon to open up a laparoscopic patient if something happens during surgery resulting in a larger amount of fluid, she explained.
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