Treating aneurysms could become easier and cheaper with new sensor

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An aneurysm in the brain happens when the wall of a cerebral artery become weak, causing the surrounding blood vessels to swell. Researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a smart flow diverter device designed to be implanted inside the brain’s blood vessels to accurately measure fluid flow alterations pre and post-surgery. They are also working on a wireless system.

Youngjae Chun, an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “We have developed a highly stretchable, hyper-elastic flow diverter using a highly-porous thin film nitinol. None of the existing flow diverters, however, provide quantitative, real-time monitoring of hemodynamics within the sac of cerebral aneurysm. We have developed a smart flow-diverter system that can actively monitor the flow alterations during and after surgery.”

“Researchers have developed a smart flow diverter device designed to be implanted inside the brain’s blood vessels to accurately measure fluid flow alterations pre and post-surgery.“

Woon-Hong Yeo, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Wallace H Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, said: “We are trying to develop a battery less, wireless device that can be miniaturised enough to be routed through the tiny and complex blood vessels of the brain and then deployed without damage. It’s a very challenging to insert such electronic system into the brain’s narrow and contoured blood vessels. The membrane is deflected by the flow through the diverter, and depending on the strength of the flow, the velocity difference, the amount of deflection changes. We measure the amount of deflection based on the capacitance change, because the capacitance is inversely proportional to the distance between two metal layers. Putting functional materials and circuits into something that size is pretty much impossible right now. What we are doing is very challenging based on conventional materials and design strategies. The sensor has to be completely compressed for placement, so it must be capable of stretching 300 or 400 per cent. The sensor structure has to be able to endure that kind of handling while being conformable and bending to fit inside the blood vessel.”

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