Smart Mitral Valve Replacement Device
Name your device and explain how it works?
This smart snake-like device could improve the accuracy of the minimally invasive mitral valve replacement surgery. In the current percutaneous valvuloplasty method, a lotus valve made by Boston Scientific is being guided through the aorta to reach the left side of the heart. The proposed smart device would assist the accuracy of the procedure while improving the dexterity and providing more activation and control.
This smart snaked-like device (shown in the figure) will be built using multiple sections of shape memory polymer (SMP) elements. Only one section is shown in the figure. While the mechanical or the bioprosthetic vale is attached to the tip of this device. The SMP elements turn softer while above their glass transition temperatures and therefore free the device from its rigid solid state. The transition temperature and the stiffness of the SMP elements can be tuned to suit the application and the level of steerability required. This device is also equipped with shape memory alloys (SMAs) which can be activated through the supplied current. The robust and precise actuation and control provided by biocompatible SMA wires would enhance the positioning of the valve in the precise location and direction.
ï¿¼What problem in healthcare does the device solve?
The mitral valve replacement is necessary if the valve is too hardened or too soft which causes an imperfect blood flow between the ventricle and the atrium. This device is equipped with multiple sections of Nitinol tubes, SMA actuators and SMP elements which provides an accurate navigation and control to the surgery that makes it less invasive and more precise. The procedure needs positioning the mitral valve in the exact location and orientation through CT imaging assessments. The actuation of SMA wires would assist surgeons locking the valve in the correct place.
ï¿¼Why should the device be commercialized?
Currently, 71,000 to 79,000 heart valve replacements are done each year in the United States. Therefore, there is a constant demand for improvement and cost savings. This device would let the surgeons to do their tasks more accurately and more quickly with less trauma to the patients; these are all from the factors that could save money for the patients and for the hospitals. The SMP elements that connects the Nitinol tube sections could be made using 3D printers in different shapes and sizes to optimize the functionality of the device while in a tiny size.
ï¿¼What inspired you to design this device?
For the last four year I have been using shape memory alloys (SMAs) to activate the surgical needles. Recently, it came to my attention that a transcatheter aortic valve replacement is being done for a damaged mitral valve. At the same time I was doing research to incorporate SMP elements in the active needle design to provide more dexterity. Since the SMP elements could be built with different stiffness and glass transition temperatures via different chemical compositions and degradations, I believe that this device could be a suitable alternative in the procedure.