Blood vessels make up a complex and intertwined system that keeps all corners of our bodies running smoothly. Unfortunately, all the curves, spirals, and bends of blood vessel microenvironments can make it difficult to detect dangerous blood clots which interfere with healthy system function.
When a system of blood vessels is diseased, complex flow conditions activate proteins and cells that eventually lead to blood clots. Traditional clot-detecting devices and medications are entirely chemistry-based, but researchers at Texas A&M University have designed a biomimetic blood clotting device that could help to design and monitor drugs given to patients who have clotting disorders.
Once a prototype was developed, the team collaborated with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine to test it on pediatric patients who were using ECMO machines, known to cause blood clotting.
The device performs a fast blood analysis on a small volume of blood. The results take only 10-15 minutes compared to expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes unreliable traditional methods. The margin of error for the new device is almost zero percent.
The efficient and convenient nature of the device means it could be incredibly beneficial in a wide variety of medical settings. For now, the team will continue to run clinical trials with partnered medical facilities to rule out any potential flaws or bugs in the device. Blood clotting is associated with a great number of serious medical conditions including strokes and heart attacks. The potential to detect blood clots earlier and more accurately means this device could save many lives.