Aneurysms within the brain are extremely dangerous, although there are therapies available such as stents and blood flow diverters. Even after treatment, a cerebral aneurysm can continue developing and how it heals cannot be predicted. Monitoring a treated vessel deep within the brain would provide physicians with the ability to act in situations that would otherwise only be apparent once a rupture, or some other terrible malady, happens.
Currently, this kind of vascular analysis is only possible using contrast enhanced angiography, but that is dangerous to perform frequently. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have developed another solution: a sensor that can be built into currently available neural stents and flow diverters that can provide live hemodynamic information precisely from the spot that was treated.
The flexible sensor is a wireless device that can be printed to match the implant it will be attached to. It is manufactured using aerosol jet 3D printing that allows a conductive silver wire to be deposited onto an elastomer. Since no complicated cleanroom-level processes are required, the technology lends itself to cheap production.
The new sensor relies on inductive coupling to transmit its readings to an external device. As blood flows through the device, its capacitance slightly changes and this effect can be used to monitor blood flow perturbations down to .05 meters per second. This should be quite sufficient to detect unexpected changes in the localized hemodynamics near the treatment site.
The Georgia Tech team is already working on including pressure sensing abilities within the new device.
Study in journal Advanced Science: Fully Printed, Wireless, Stretchable Implantable Biosystem toward Batteryless, Real‐Time Monitoring of Cerebral Aneurysm Hemodynamics
Via: Georgia Tech