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Designer's Corner

Designer's Corner

Heart-laser surgery

Heart-laser surgery drills between 12 and 25 1 mm holes in the left ventricle. Outside of hole stops bleeding withing minutes; scar tissue forms within two days.

Coronary arteries carry oxygen to the heart muscle. If they become blocked, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen resulting in painful attacks of angina. To reduce angina levels in patients, medical researchers are investigating a procedure known as transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR).

After making a small incision to access the beating heart, the surgeon uses a 1,000W CO2 Heart Laser to perforate the left ventricle. The contracting ventricle then forces oxygenated blood into the muscle through the "drilled" channels. Results of a multi-center study show a significant decrease in hospital admissions after the TMR procedure. PLC Medical Systems, Inc., 113 Cedar St., Milford, MA 01757, 508-478-6737.

Smart needle

Microchips fit a milled channel; fllexible ribbon cable attaches needle to computer.

Embedding a needle with microchips could replace the probes presently used to characterize tissues such as tumors. Researchers at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have built a prototype device that measures temperature.

Each "smart" chip not only senses temperature, but processes and digitizes the temperature signals. A separate chip near the needle's head coordinates data flow between the microchip sensors and a personal computer.

Ultimate goal? One needle that measures a variety of parameters such as temperature, pH, oxygen concentration, and radiation dosage. Kenneth Szajda, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 5-111, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, 617-253-2700.

Breaking bloodclots with ultrasound

High-frequency sound waves turn blood clots back to blood, restoring circulation in blocked vessels.

Blocked arteries can lead to heart attack or stroke. Using ultrasound to dissolve blood clots shows promise as a safe and effective alternative to such treatments as angioplasty and clot-dissolving drugs.

Doctors snake the ultrasound probe--encased in a plastic catheter--up to the blocked vessel. Two or three 60-sec bursts of high-frequency sound waves liquefy the clot. The procedure takes only a few minutes and the patient remains awake.

In the first human use of the AcolysisTM System, scientists opened blocked heart arteries in 13 of 15 heart attack patients. Erica Keleher, AngiosonicsInc., Morrisville, NC 27560, 919-468-2189.

Double-barrel accuracy

For utility technicians, the 3i makes it possible to accurately measure transformer temperatures from the ground. Other applications: motors or bearings; heating vents; running equipment.

Scope and laser sighting, combined in a single unit, permits non-contact temperature measurement from as far away as 110 ft. Good day or night, the Raynger(R) 3iTM infrared thermometer gauges hard-to-reach, hot, and moving objects. Features include a wide temperature range (-20 to 2,200F); backlit display; MAX, MIN, DIF, and AVG temperature in degrees F or C; and fully-adjustable emissivity. Raytek Corp., 1201 Shaffer Rd., P.O. Box 1820, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1820, 408-458-1110.

TAGS: Medical
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