A supplement to the Mission magazine highlighting advancements at the The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the heroes who help make them happen.
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Cardiovascular research and care:
The next chapter

3d rendering of cardiology sensorThe creation of the Palmaz stent and the success of previous inventions at the Health Science Center have paved the way for a new age in cardiovascular biomedical technology.

Steven R. Bailey, M.D., professor of medicine and radiology and head of the Janey and Dolph Briscoe Division of Cardiology, is now taking cardiovascular therapy to the next level, adding a whole new dimension to the diagnosis and management of heart disease and a host of other health problems.

Thanks to a generous $200,000 gift from the AT&T Foundation,
Dr. Bailey said plans are under way to create nanosensors that can be freestanding or attached to surgical devices such as stents and heart valves. Dr. Bailey and his team have developed a prototype and are involving biomedical engineering students from the Health Science Center’s M.D./Ph.D. program in the project’s progress.

Cardiologists and vascular surgeons have recently begun to use very large vascular devices implanted in the body to monitor pressure in the heart or to monitor specific conditions such as heart failure and enlargement of the aorta. However, Dr. Bailey said these current devices will not be useful in a large number of patients who might benefit from this type of assessment. By developing sensors that are smaller than a human hair, physicians can implant these devices in more locations throughout the body and enable even more sophisticated monitoring.

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Once inside the body, the nanosensor will serve as a continuous monitoring device, registering the body’s status, including pressure of the vessel walls as the blood is pumped through the vessel. Dr. Bailey envisions that the sensor will send signals to a small apparatus outside of the body that a patient will wear. The physician will receive the signals at a monitoring station and will be able to monitor a patient’s health no matter where the patient is – in the hospital, at home or abroad.

“The generous funding provided by donors like the AT&T Foundation will support this new translational research that will help physicians improve patients’ daily lives,” Dr. Bailey said.

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