Engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a prosthetic vein valve to help improve the lives of those suffering from a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. The condition, which affects more than seven million people in the United States alone, occurs when valves in a person's veins can no longer ensure a one-way flow of blood back to the heart.
"Blood flows to the toes because of gravity, but the body uses vein valves to pump blood in one direction back to the heart," said David Ku, the Lawrence P. Huang Endowed Chair in Engineering and Entrepreneurship and Regents' Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. "However, sometimes a vein valve dissolves away after a blood clot. The loss of the valve leaflets allows blood to flow the wrong way, causing swelling in the legs and ankles."
Ku is leading a research team that has developed a prosthetic vein valve to replace damaged, non-functioning valves. The prosthetic vein valve design and results from laboratory studies were presented at the Society for Biomaterials Fall Symposium in Atlanta on September 12. The research under way for the past five years is funded by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.
Ku's collaborators on this project include Rudy Gleason, an assistant professor with joint appointments in the Georgia Tech School of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Biomedical Engineering; Ross Milner, an assistant professor of surgery at Emory University; consultant Harris Bergman, a former Georgia Tech graduate student and now president of Amigent; former Georgia Tech graduate students Rahul Sathe and Laura-Lee Farrell; and current graduate students David Bark and Prem Midha.
Individuals with chronic venous insufficiency are commonly prescribed therapies including anticoagulants, bed rest and compression hosiery that targ
|Contact: Abby Vogel|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News