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New system reduces risk of burns during interventional X-rays

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The threading of slender catheters and stents through arteries to deliver treatments to the heart, the brain and elsewhere in the body has produced nothing short of a medical revolution.

But these delicate procedures require that patients be exposed to continuous radiation that can last up to an hour or more, sometimes causing skin injuries that, in rare cases, develop necrosis (tissue death), requiring skin grafts.

Now University at Buffalo researchers, working with an Amherst, N.Y., startup company called Esensors have developed a unique, real-time patient dose-tracking system, which lets physicians know when the accumulated radiation dose is approaching a dangerous threshold.

The system is designed to be used either as a retrofit with existing fluoroscopy machines or to be included in the design of new machines.

Funded by grants totaling $814,000 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the Small Business Innovation and Research program, the team of researchers is completing a prototype that will be clinically site-tested prior to commercialization.

"Our system provides complete tracking of actual radiation levels on the skin, providing both instantaneous dose rate, as well as cumulative exposure," explained Daniel Bednarek, Ph.D., UB project director, researcher at UB's Toshiba Stroke Research Center, professor of radiology and research associate professor of neurosurgery and biophysics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Development of the system was spurred by a growing concern among physicians and by advisories issued by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health warning of occasional, but severe, radiation-induced skin injuries during prolonged, fluoroscopically guided invasive procedures.

"It can take a long time to insert a catheter into the brain and perform a complicated endovascular treatment,
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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1415
University at Buffalo
3-Dec-2004


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