Tragedy Drives AUM Founder Johnson to Develop Lifesaving Test
Healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs often work at start-ups because they seek work with a purpose.
Marie Johnson’s purpose found her in a most tragic way.
Johnson, CEO and founder of AUM Cardiovascular, lost her husband, Rob, to a heart attack. He was 41, fit, and had just cleared a nuclear cardiology stress test.
Prior to the tragedy, Johnson, then a 3M Fellow, worked with the Littman stethoscope unit to develop a computerized stethoscope. Her husband served as her sole subject in her study, enabling her to collect reams of data of his heart.
In this interview, Johnson explains why she asked her husband to seek further testing and how she learned the gold standard test of the day fails to pick up an arterial blockage one third of the time.
The day after the funeral, Johnson sat down and began sifting through the data. This search for answers led to a journey that took her and her young family to Italy, Stanford, and finally the corner office of a medical start-up.
“I just knew his death was not by accident,” she said. “I knew I had to do something about this horrible condition.”
Johnson used her insights, data, and talents to create the CADence System, a non-invasive, radiation-free, handheld tool to help assess the sounds associated with clinically significant coronary artery obstruction, congestive heart failure, and heart valve abnormalities.
Her company, AUM Cardiovascular, secured FDA approval for CADence in August following a massive clinical trial. Now, the start-up faces the challenge of convincing physicians, clinical academies, and payers that CADence offers a faster, better, and cheaper way of uncovering the silent killer.
Watch her TedxGullLake talk here.