PITTSBURGH (Sept. 28, 2020) … Coronary artery disease – a
leading cause of death in the US – narrows or blocks arteries that carry a
vital supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. A stent can be
inserted to widen the artery, but these devices must be closely monitored to
ensure that they do not re-narrow, a common complication called restenosis.
Youngjae Chun, PhD, associate professor of industrial
engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School
of Engineering, will lead a study to develop an electronic stent that can be
implanted in a minimally invasive procedure and measure significant
physiological changes with the development of restenosis. The device will
provide real-time monitoring to help prevent subsequent heart attack or stroke.
The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is
in collaboration with W.
Hong Yeo, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia
Tech and John
Pacella, MD, cardiologist at UPMC, who also holds a secondary appointment
work is a continuation of the group’s 2019 Innovative Project Award from the
American Heart Association.
“Though similar devices already exist, they are typically
bulkier and do not work as effectively with the growth of artery tissue,” said
This new device has an ultra-low profile sensor, which allows
it to work without a battery and wirelessly monitor the restenosis progress. They
believe that this device can easily integrate with commercially available
stents without disturbing its functionality. With this design, users will be
able to see real-time data on a smart device, rather than scheduling endless
follow-up visits to the doctor.
The group will use computational modeling and calculation to
carefully design the device, and then it will then be fabricated using a novel nanoscale
printing technique. Once it is developed, they will evaluate the design in vitro to determine its functionality
with a stent.
Previous sensors are only able to monitor stents for a few
days or weeks after the implant procedure, but their design will be able to
continuously monitor, providing a unique, long-term solution.
Chun said, “This kind of translational research is a
strength of the University of Pittsburgh, and we hope that this technology can
eventually be expanded to other endovascular devices where specific
physiological changes in our vascular system are a factor in the remodeling
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Contact: Leah Russell