The "drill" may be aimed straight ahead, allowing better targeting of clots, according to researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. However, the group has only tested the device in synthetic blood vessels.
The new ultrasound tool is forward-facing, like a drill, but it breaks down clots into very fine particles, obviating the need for a blood thinner. It also incorporates an injection tube that allows users to inject microbubbles at the site of the clot, making the ultrasound waves more effective at breaking down the clot.
When they tested the prototype in a synthetic blood vessel using cow's blood, the researchers dissolved 90% of a clot in 3.5 to four hours without using any blood thinners, compared with 10 hours for the combination of conventional ultrasound tools and blood thinners.
The researchers filed a patent for the device and are interested in working with industry partners to develop it. They plan on securing funding to move forward with trials in an animal model. More information can be found in their paper published in Scientific Reports on June 14.
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