World's smallest imaging device has heart disease in focus

July 21, 2020

A team of researchers led by the University of Adelaide and University of Stuttgart has used 3D micro-printing to develop the world's smallest, flexible scope for looking inside blood vessels.

The camera-like imaging device can be inserted into blood vessels to provide high quality 3D images to help scientists better understand the causes of heart attack and heart disease progression, and could lead to improved treatment and prevention.

In a study published in the journal Light: Science & Applications, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians was able to 3D print a tiny lens on to the end of an optical fibre, the thickness of a human hair.

The imaging device is so small that researchers were able to scan inside the blood vessels of mice.

Dr Jiawen Li, co-author and Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide, says in Australia cardiovascular disease kills one person every 19 minutes.

"A major factor in heart disease is the plaques, made up of fats, cholesterol and other substances that build up in the vessel walls," Dr Li said.

"Preclinical and clinical diagnostics increasingly rely on visualising the structure of the blood vessels to better understand the disease.

"Miniaturised endoscopes, which act like tiny cameras, allow doctors to see how these plaques form and explore new ways to treat them," she said.

Dr Simon Thiele, Group Leader, Optical Design and Simulation at the University of Stuttgart, was responsible for fabricating the tiny lens.

"Until now, we couldn't make high quality endoscopes this small," Dr Thiele said.

"Using 3D micro-printing, we are able to print complicated lenses that are too small to see with the naked eye.

"The entire endoscope, with a protective plastic casing, is less than half a millimetre across," he said.

Dr Li explains: "It's exciting to work on a project where we take these innovations and build them into something so useful.

"It's amazing what we can do when we put engineers and medical clinicians together," said Dr Li.
-end-
The research collaboration also included researchers from The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, The Royal Adelaide Hospital and Monash University.

University of Adelaide

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.