Georgia Tech researchers developing biomechanic device to grow arteries for bypass surgery patients

Biomedical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) are testing a device that, when implanted, mechanically lengthens an existing artery in patients preparing for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). The lengthened artery, when harvested and used as a graft, has the potential to greatly improve the long-term outcomes of bypass patients.

Designed to stimulate growth in the gastroepiploic artery a small, disease-free artery about 3-7 mm diameters in size and located below the stomach the device has shown to be effective in lengthening arterial tissue in pigs by as much as 30 cm enough for a patient to undergo at least two CABG procedures, researchers say.

The patented process has been coined "distraction angiogenesis" by lead scientist Ray Vito, a professor at Georgia Tech who holds dual appointments in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Vito is president and CEO of Medanoia Medical Inc., a company he formed in February 2001, along with Jack Griffis, COO, to develop, manufacture and market the device. The process is similar to distraction osteogenesis a process that has been used clinically since the 1950's to lengthen bones, especially in the legs and face.

"The long-term outcome of coronary bypass surgery is critically dependent on the graft that is used," Vito said. "The consensus among surgeons and cardiologists is that arterial grafts are preferable to venous grafts (veins) because they stay open much longer. However, the human body has a very limited supply of arterial tissue that can be harvested without consequence to the patient. Distraction angiogenesis increases the supply of arterial tissue suitable for use as grafts."

Coronary artery bypass surgery is among the most common operations performed in the world to bypass a blockage. Clogged arteries are often caused by a buildup of fat, plaq

Contact: Larry Bowie
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

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