Christian Denneberg is a nurse that played a key role in driving the innovation of the medical device market for more than thirty years as a front-line salesman and sales manager within interventional cardiology. Here he tells us why he chose that profession and what has been the best thing about that choice.
After serving time as an ambulance nurse in the Swedish military, followed by treating patients in the hospital, including trauma in the Emergency Room, Christian chose to make a significant career change into the field of interventional cardiology where he saw that innovation for better patient care was the driving force. He first joined Radi Medical, then was recruited to join pioneer Scimed Life Systems which eventually became Boston Scientific.
Why interventional cardiology?
- In a word, innovation. When I began three decades ago, the last hope of any heart patient was the surgeon. If you were determined to be ineligible for surgery, there was no hope. At that time and still today, Interventional cardiologists are pioneering ways to treat patients with catheter-based procedures rather than open heart surgery. In my career I have seen and participated in the development of balloons used to open clogged arteries, then coronary stents then drug coated coronary stents used to prop open clogged arteries, devices used for atherectomy, again to open closed arteries. The technologies have improved, the procedures have improved, and all of this innovation comes from developing a strong relationship and listening to your customers ideas. That’s what I did!
What has been the best thing about your career?
- Now that I look back, I have had the great privilege of being part of a completely new treatment method in cardiology called PTCA Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty. Today it is called PCI Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. Not only did this innovation help more heart patients get treatment when not surgically eligible, those that were eligible for surgery choose this less invasive procedure to the point that it has become the standard of care.
Specifically, balloon dilation, a treatment that can be obtained when there has been a narrowing in the coronary arteries. The treatment opens the vessels so that the blood can pass as through again, Christian explains. A few years after PCI was developed as a method, a stent, that is, a mesh was invented that keeps the vessel open. The stent was of crucial importance in reducing the risk of the vessel closing again.
- I have learned so much in this area. Especially in the early 90s, when so much groundbreaking research happened. During each congress you went to, new studies were presented, which were then adopted when you got home.
Another thing that has also been significant to him is that he has gotten to know absolutely wonderful doctors and nurses, who are passionate about their profession. Their fervor has been contagious and Christian has felt like they've been working as if on a team even though he's worked in the industry.
- Finally, it has been incredibly rewarding and developing that I have been allowed to travel around congresses all over the world, says Christian enthusiastically.
What do you have going on now?
- Rather than retire, I wanted to try something new, so I have made the big decision to change companies after working for an American company for more than 28 years. I am excited to close my career the same way it started, in a small company, the same size as the one I started in 1989.
To get a new job a month or so before you turn 65. How does it feel?
- It feels both exciting and very nervous, as I leave everything I can and all the customers that I know so well. I venture into a completely different area from the heart to the brain. Normally at my age you step down and retire but I do exactly the opposite!