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 would experience restenosis -- the renewed narrowing of the artery due to plaque buildup or scarring -- which can lead to additional complications.
The researchers believe that the smart stent could help doctors monitor their patient's health more easily.
The device prototype was successfully tested in the lab and in a swine model, according to a study published in the journal Advanced Science.
"We modified a stent to function as a miniature antenna and added a special micro-sensor that we developed to continuously track blood flow," said Kenichi Takahata, Professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.
"The data can then be sent wirelessly to an external reader, providing constantly updated information on the artery's condition," Takahata said.
The device uses medical-grade stainless steel and looks similar to most commercial stents.
It can be implanted using current medical procedures without modifications, the researchers said.
"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," said research collaborator York Hsiang, Professor at University of British Columbia. (IANS)