Technology 3 min read

Researchers Invent Wireless Aneurysm Sensor to Monitor Healing

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Researchers have developed a wireless aneurysm sensor that’s so small that clinicians can implant it in the blood vessel to monitor healing.

Monitoring the progress of cerebral aneurysms is challenging. Physicians have to continuously capture angiogram images using contrast materials with potentially damaging effects on the human body.

For this reason, health professionals have discouraged frequent use of the current imaging technique.

But, the engineers at Georgia Tech saw this problem and decided to provide a solution. It was a wireless, stretchable sensor that could be placed in a blood vessel to allow frequent evaluations.

What’s more, the new solution did not require the use of image dyes.

In a statement about the new tech, assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Woon-Hong Yeo said:

“The beauty of our sensor is that it can be seamlessly integrated into existing medical stents or flow diverters that clinicians are already using to treat aneurysms. We could use it to measure incoming blood flow to the aneurysm sac to determine how well the aneurysm is healing, and to alert doctors if blood flow changes.”

In a published paper in the journal Advanced Science, the researchers explained how the new sensor works.

Creating a Wireless Aneurysm Sensor to Monitor Healing

The researchers fabricated the six-layer sensor from biocompatible polyimide, including two separate layers of a mesh pattern produced from silver nanoparticles. They also used a dielectric and soft polymer-encapsulating material in creating the tech.

The aneurysm sensor is then wrapped around a flow diverter or stent that’s about two to three millimeters in diameter, small enough to fit into the blood vessels. It also includes a coil to detect electromagnetic energy from another coil outside the body.

The device uses inductive coupling of signals to allow wireless detection of biomimetic cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics.

Yeo noted:

“For patients who have had a procedure done, we would be able to tell if the aneurysm is occluding as it should without using any imaging tool. We will be able to accurately measure blood flow to detect changes as small as 0.05 meters per second.”

When blood flows through the implanted sensor, its capacitance changes, this, in turn, alters the signals that are passing through the sensor as they transmit to the third coil outside the body.

Under lab condition, Yeo and his colleagues implanted a sensor in a lump of meat to simulate brain tissue. Then, they measured the capacitance changes from a distance of about six centimeters.

What’s next for the technology?

According to Yeo, the next phase involves optimizing the aneurysm sensor to measure blood pressure along with flow rates in the blood vessel.

“We will be able to measure how pressure contributes to flow change,” Yeo explained. “That would allow the device to be used for other applications, such as intracranial pressure measurements.”

Read More: Researchers Develop BodyNet, A Wireless Skin-Hugging Sensor

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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