For every three individuals who have had a stent implanted to keep clogged arteries open and prevent a heart attack, at least one will experience restenosis—the renewed narrowing of the artery due to plaque buildup or scarring—which can lead to additional complications.
A team led by UBC electrical and computer engineering professor Kenichi Takahata has developed a “smart stent” that monitors even subtle changes in the flow of blood through the artery, detecting the narrowing in its earliest stages and making early diagnosis and treatment possible. The device uses medical-grade stainless steel and looks similar to most commercial stents. Researchers say it’s the first angioplasty-ready smart stent.
Research collaborator Dr York Hsiang, a UBC professor of surgery and a vascular surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, noted that monitoring for restenosis is critical in managing heart disease.
The device prototype was successfully tested in the lab and in a swine model. The research team is planning to establish industry partnerships to further refine the device, put it through clinical trials, and eventually commercialize it.
The research is described in the May issue of Advanced Science.
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