A Tiny Silicon Chip Device That Cleans Clogged Arteries

If you speculate AIDS and cancers are the major cause of death, you are not scrutinizing satisfactorily. In the United States, every 33 seconds someone dies from heart disease and more than 385,000 lives are claimed annually due to coronary artery disease (CAD).

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a tiny catheter-based device that provides real-time, 3D imaging from inside the heart, coronary arteries and peripheral blood vessels. The new device could guide the surgeon throughout the surgery process and make it easier to clean patients’ clogged arteries by means of the device’s volumetric imaging even without the need of major surgery.

The device is a 1.4 millimeter silicon chip made with CMOS technology. It also incorporates Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer (CMUT) to provide three-dimensional intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and transmit intracardiac echography (ICE) images using 13 cables.

“Our device will allow doctors to see the whole volume that is in front of them within a blood vessel,” said F. Levent Degertekin, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“This will give cardiologists the equivalent of a flashlight so they can see blockages ahead of them in occluded arteries. It has the potential for reducing the amount of surgery that must be done to clear these vessels”, he added.

The device is awaiting FDA approval. Imagine the change – the device will undoubtedly lower the deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.

[Image Credit: Georgia Tech]

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