Flow diverters are implants that are commonly used to prevent blood from flowing into aneurysms. They look very similar to stents, and are often combined into one device, but instead of providing structural strength, they provide a way for blood to pass from one part of a vessel to another without flowing into a bulging aneurysm.
In order to know how a patient is doing post implantation, angiography and MRI are used to image the vasculature, but these don’t give much detail about how well blood is moving through the diverter.
A team of scientists has now developed a prototype flow diverter that has a blood flow sensor built in. The device can be implanted just like other existing flow diverters and it can bend up to 180 degrees and stretch up to five times its starting radius.
The device measures blood flow by detecting changes in electric capacitance, the accuracy of which was already demonstrated in the laboratory. The sensor part consists of two metal layers around a dialectric that surround the implant, just like any simple capacitor.
The next step is to be able to wirelessly connect to the implant in order for it to be readable post implantation. This part will certainly prove to be a serious challenge, but if successful, the wireless tech will prove useful in other intravascular devices and for medical implants in general.
Via: Georgia Tech…