UW-Madison: New 3D-printed artery can monitor blockages from the inside

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7/22/20

Contact: Xudong Wang, [email protected]

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NEW 3D-PRINTED ARTERY CAN MONITOR BLOCKAGES FROM THE INSIDE

MADISON – When surgeons replace part of a blood vessel – something they do in 450,000 patients per year in the United States to treat blood clots, coronary disease, stroke damage and more – the grafted vessel is monitored by CT scans, ultrasounds and other expensive imaging techniques. Despite all that effort, between 40% and 50% of those grafts fail.

That’s one reason University of Wisconsin-Madison materials science engineers are developing a new, 3D-printed artificial blood vessel that allows doctors and patients to keep tabs on its health remotely.

The implantable vessel, made of a flexible composite and capable of real-time monitoring, is described in a new study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials by UW-Madison professor Xudong Wang and graduate student Jun Li.

“This artificial vessel can produce electric pulses based on pressure fluctuation which will be able to tell precisely the blood pressure in the vessel without using any additional power source,” says Wang. “And because of the 3D geometry, the electric pulse profile will be able to tell if there is an irregular motion due to blockage inside in the very early stages.”

The artery project stems from Wang’s long-term research interest in new soft, flexible materials that are piezoelectric (able to produce an electric charge from mechanical stress) and biocompatible (able to be used in the human body without causing rejection or damage).

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