‘Smart Stent’ Detects Narrowing of Arteries


Source: University of British Columbia

Summary: Researchers have developed a type of “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.


For every three individuals who have had a stent implanted to keep clogged arteries open and prevent a heart attack, at least one will experience restenosis, the renewed narrowing of the artery due to plaque buildup or scarring which can lead to additional complications. X-rays such as CT 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. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have developed a type of “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 study findings were published in the journal Advanced Science.

Monitors flow of blood in arteries

The device uses medical-grade stainless steel and looks similar to most commercial stents. Credit: University of British Columbia

The device uses medical-grade stainless steel and looks similar to most commercial stents. Researchers say it’s the first angioplasty-ready smart stent it can be implanted using current medical procedures without modifications. 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 commercialize it.

Prof. Kenichi Takahata said, “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.”


More Information: Xing Chen et al, “Medical Implants: Enabling Angioplasty-Ready “Smart” Stents to Detect In-Stent Restenosis and Occlusion (2018), Advanced Science (2018). DOI: 10.1002/advs.201870027 


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