New device detects patients at imminent risk of heart attack/stroke
A team of researchers at Australian National University have trialed and invented a bio-optics diagnostic device that could reveal the blood clot formation and help identify the patients at imminent risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The study is published in the journal Advanced Biosystems.
This could help in the prevention of strokes and heart attacks responsible for millions of death around the world.
Woei Ming Lee, biomedical engineer, ANU Research School of Engineering, and colleagues demonstrated the effectiveness of holographic quantitative phase microscopy (QPM) in identifying multiple morphological parameters of a thrombus formed over collagen‐coated microfluidic channels by exerting a range of shear rates with anticoagulated platelet‐rich plasma (PRP) and whole blood.
QPM enables the recording of entire thrombus volumes in real‐time using PRP and observed both growth and contraction trends of thrombi, without a need for biochemical labeling.
Predicting the formation of a blood clot is challenging because of the dynamic environment in which a clot forms. Blood platelets, which are a tenth of the size of a regular cell, are the major drivers of blood clot formation and they clump together within seconds when triggered.
"Using the new diagnostic device that our team has developed, we can create and quantify clot formation in 3D view from a blood sample without any form of labelings such as fluorescence or radiotracer - this had been impossible to achieve until now," Dr. Lee said in a press release.
"Doctors treated people at risk of heart attack or stroke with blood-thinning medication, but there was no way to know a patient's susceptibility with precision - until now," said Dr. Elizabeth E. Gardiner, professor, John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR).
"We can apply this technology to blood from patients at risk of clotting or uncontrollable bleeding - this is a potential gamechanger," she said.
Sherry He, a CSC-PhD scholar in Dr. Lee's group at the ANU Research School of Engineering, and Dr. Samantha Montague, a postdoctoral fellow from the Gardiner group at JCSMR, supported the development of the new diagnostic device.
"Our device creates a digital hologram of a microscopic blood clot at a fraction of a second by measuring the delay time for light to travel through the clot," Ms. He said.
The team tailored a microfabricated device that can mimic a damaged blood vessel and created blood clots from human samples to reveal these blood-clotting events in the laboratory.
Ms. He said the device can be fitted onto a regular microscope but was not yet suitable to be used at the bedside.
"We need to shrink our diagnostic device, which takes up a fair amount of space in a research lab at the moment, to something that can fit into a shoebox so that it can be used in a clinical setting," she said.
Dr. Montague said the device would be further developed in tandem with existing clinical and platelet research practices.
"We have set up this new diagnostic device at JCSMR right alongside routine flow cytometry equipment that is the gold standard for cell and blood platelet analysis," she said.