The wireless sensor could be produced at high volume and low cost, according to the researchers.
A wireless sensor implanted in the brain’s blood vessels could help clinicians evaluate the healing of aneurysms, according to research published in the journal Advanced Science.
The stretchable sensor, developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, operates without batteries and would be wrapped around stents or diverters to control blood flow in vessels affected by aneurysms.
That’s the beauty of the sensors, according to Woon-Hong Yeo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter biomedical engineering department at Georgia Tech and Emory University.
“We could use it to measure an incoming blood flow to the aneurysm sac to determine how well the aneurysm is healing and to alert doctors if blood flow changes,” Yeo said.
The sensor is six layers and is fabricated from biocompatible polyimide, two layers of a mesh pattern, a dielectric and soft polymer-encapsulating material. The device also includes a coil to pick up energy transmitted from a coil outside the body.
Fabrication of the sensors uses aerosol jet 3D printing, which reduces costs and accelerates manufacturing. The 3D printing creates conductive silver traces on elastomeric substrates. This technique helps small electronic features be produced in one step.
The sensor would be inserted into the brain’s blood vessels using a catheter system. The device would use inductive coupling of signals to allow for the detection of biomimetic cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics, the researchers said.
Placing the sensor in the blood vessel “could allow more frequent evaluations without the use of imaging dyes,” the researchers reported.
“For patients who have a procedure done, we would be able to tell if the aneurysm is occluding as it should without using any imaging tools,” Yeo said.
In fact, Yeo said the researchers would be able to measure blood flow to detect changes as small as 0.05 meters per second.
Yeo said the next phase of the sensor will be able to measure blood pressure in the vessel and flow rates.
“That would allow the device to be used for other applications, such as intracranial pressure measurements,” he said.
Along with the sensor, the research team developed a flexible and wearable health monitor to provide an electrocardiogram and other health data.
“We are excited that people are now recognizing the potential of this technology,” Yeo said. “There are a lot of opportunities to integrate this sensing mechanism into ultrathin membranes that are implantable within the body.”
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