Kenichi Takahata (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) and colleagues have designed 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.
Takahata et al say it is the first angioplasty-ready smart stent; it can be implanted using current medical procedures without modifications. “We modified a stent to function as a miniature antenna and added a special micro-sensor that we developed to continuously track blood flow. The data can then be sent wirelessly to an external reader, providing constantly updated information on the artery’s condition,” explains Takahata.
The device prototype was successfully tested in the lab and in a swine model. Takahata, who holds patents for the technology, says his team is planning to establish industry partnerships to further refine the device, put it through clinical trials and eventually commercialise it.
Research collaborator, vascular surgeon York Hsiang (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) states: “X-rays such as computed tomography or diagnostic angiograms, which are the standard tools for diagnosis, can be impractical or inconvenient for the patient. Putting a smart stent in place of a standard one can enable physicians to monitor their patient’s health more easily and offer treatment, if needed, in a timely manner.”
The research is described in Advanced Science and featured on its front cover.