How Electronic Devices can make Heart Surgery Easier

As heart related problems affect millions of people, vast amounts of research has been conducted relating to it in recent years – often relating to how potentially hazardous surgery-techniques can be made safer and easier for both patients and surgeons.

Recently, researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering have used stretchable electronics to create a multi-functional catheter that can observe heart function, as well as be used to undertake surgical alterations. This technology has recently been used to assist a process known as cardiac ablation, a technique common-place within heart surgery, which basically concerns the correction of irregular heart rhythms that if un-treated can create a potentially fatal degradation of heart-muscle tissues. By using the stretchable catheter, the patient can be subjected to a surgical process that can serve as an alternative to open heart surgery – with the device being inserted into a vein near the patient’s groin, which is then threaded through to the heart.

Whilst, previous catheter procedures have involved the use of three different devices, this latest approach only requires the use of one, which as well as saving time and money, can also reduce the risk of surgery-related complications. The devices can monitor and record essential information relating to heart-health in real-time, eliminating the need for medical experts to engage in time consuming, post-procedural analysis.  As soon as the catheter is correctly positioned, the components within it can perform their numerous and varied tasks. For instance – the pressure sensor monitors the pressure on the heart and a temperature sensor ensures that heart-tissue is not damaged.

The potential of the device has resulted in an international collaboration of scientists and health experts eager to assess its possibilities. Research has been undertaken on countries including the US, Republic of Korea, China and Singapore, with many other nations expressing an interest in it.

Comments are closed.