Stents are vital to clearing blockages in blood vessels, but the low-tech devices offer no feedback as to whether they’re working. A recent Medgadget article discussed a new type of ‘smart’ stent that aims to improve the way patients with cardiovascular issues monitor their hemodynamic data. Developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology, they are a vast improvement from the standard version developed in the 1980s. They operate without the use of wires or batteries, and are powered via a wireless energy transfer system that employs magnetic fields.
When a traditional stent is deployed, the patient and doctor have to just trust it's doing its job. Often, patients return with the same issue, and are in the dark about what the issue is. It could be a defective stent, a problematic deployment, or an issue with the patient’s blood flow. The smart stents contain sensors that measure and monitor these hemodynamic parameters and relay the information to an external system. Just like normal stents, the smart ones are easily administered with the use of a catheter.