Vascular diseases are public enemy number one: the leading killers worldwide, accounting for nearly a third of all human deaths on the planet.
Continuous monitoring of hemodynamics – the flow of blood through the vascular system – can improve treatment and patient outcomes. But fatal conditions such as hypertension and atherosclerosis occur in the long and tortuous vascular system with arteries of varying diameter and curvature, and current clinical devices are limited by their size, stiffness, and utility.
Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Woon-Hong Yeo and his collaborators are trying to improve the chances of patients with developing a flexible, implantable electronic monitoring system. Their new device, which consists of a smart stent and soft-printed sensors, is capable of real-time wireless monitoring of hemodynamics without batteries or circuits.
“This electronic system is designed to wirelessly communicate hemodynamic data, including arterial pressure, pulse and flow, to an external data acquisition system, and is very small and thin, which is why we can use a catheter to deliver it anywhere indoors,” said Yu, whose team published their study this week. in the magazine” science progress.
Yue added with a smile, “It’s like a prop with multiple tricks up its sleeve.”
For example, when this device is installed in a patient with atherosclerosis, in addition to widening and preventing artery stenosis, like a conventional stent, and restoring normal blood flow, it will also provide a steady flow of data.
Now, once the stent is deployed, you are not sure the problem is resolved and patients may return with the same problem. It could be a defect in the stent, a problem with spreading the stent, or perhaps a problem with the patient’s blood flow.”
Woon-Hong Yeo, Researcher, Georgia Institute of Technology
The current standard way to monitor all of this is by using an angiogram. This can be expensive and in rare cases, especially in patients who also have diabetes, the dyes and radiation used in angiography can cause cancer. The Yeo System seeks to circumvent the need for angiography or other imaging requirements.
Its wireless smart stent platform, integrated with soft sensors, is powered by inductive coupling to provide real-time wireless monitoring that can detect a wide range of vascular conditions. Inductive coupling uses magnetic fields to transmit wireless energy. It’s similar to what happens when you use a wireless charger for your phone, smartwatch, or other devices – it gains energy from the magnetic field created by the charger.
“Basically, you can place this sensing system anywhere inside the body,” Yu explained. “The other thing about this technology platform is that, in addition to being an implantable sensor system, it can be used as a wearable system. Think about a smartwatch and how much of it the circuits or batteries take up. If you remove all of that, you have a device that is thinner than a typical Band-Aid, It is an almost invisible health monitor that you can wear anywhere.”
That’s the long-range goal, anyway. So far, they have tested their wireless implant system on animal models. However, there is still much work to be done. Yeo is also supported by the National Science and Technology Development Foundation. Recently received a $400,000 3-year grant from NSF focusing on printed nano-membrane sensors and bioelectronics for continuous wireless monitoring of vascular health.
“We believe that the mechanical, physical, and electrical design principles we are developing, and the engineering framework and biosensing resulting from this work, will advance the field of implantable electronics and biomedical systems,” Yu said. “And the insights and knowledge we gain will be applicable to other processes and physiological challenges in biomedical science and engineering.”
Georgia Institute of Technology
Herbert, R.; et al. (2022) Fully implantable wireless vascular electronics with soft-printed multiplex sensing hemodynamic sensors. science progress. doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abm1175.