Stents can make a life-saving difference for people with vascular problems because they open up narrowing blood vessels. An experimental new implant is being developed that goes beyond this with the ability to transmit blood flow data remotely to an external computer or mobile device.
The team at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is led by Asst. Prof. Woon-Hong Yeo. “This electronic system is designed to wirelessly deliver hemodynamic data, including arterial pressure, pulse, and flow, to an external data acquisition system, and it is super small and thin, which is why we can use a catheter to deliver it, anywhere inside the body,” says Yeo.
The device is made of multiple biocompatible materials and incorporates aerosol-jet-printed soft capacitive sensors, along with conductive loops that serve as an antenna. However, it does not contain a battery that has to be charged or replaced. Like a regular artery stent, the device can be surgically inserted and expanded inside a compromised blood vessel, where it holds that vessel open to maintain proper blood flow.
Additionally, in a process known as inductive coupling, externally applied magnetic fields are used to wirelessly transfer energy to the stent, temporarily powering it up. Its sensors then take blood flow readings, which are transmitted in the form of a radio signal.
The research is described in a paper recently published in Science Advances.
Source: Georgia Tech and newatlas.com