Patent number 8641639 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Certain physiological measurements may be made by positioning a sensor within a patient. Such physiological measurements may include, for example, measurements of blood parameters, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, blood pH, etc. Some such measurements may have diagnostic value and/or may form the basis for therapy decisions.
"A technique for evaluating the degree to which a stenotic lesion obstructs flow through a blood vessel is called the Fractional Flow Reserve measurement (FFR). To calculate the FFR for a given stenosis, two blood pressure readings are taken. One pressure reading is taken on the distal side of the stenosis (e.g., downstream from the stenosis), the other pressure reading is taken on the proximal side of the stenosis (e.g., upstream from the stenosis, towards the aorta). The FFR is defined as the ratio of maximal blood flow in a stenotic artery, taken distal to the lesion, to normal maximal flow, and is typically calculated based on a measured pressure gradient of the distal pressure to the proximal pressure. The FFR is therefore a unitless ratio of the distal and proximal pressures. The pressure gradient, or pressure drop, across a stenotic lesion is an indicator of the severity of the stenosis, and the FFR is a useful tool in assessing the pressure drop. The more restrictive the stenosis is, the greater the pressure drop, and the lower the resulting FFR. The FFR measurement may be a useful diagnostic tool. For example, clinical studies have shown that an FFR of less than about 0.75 may be a useful criterion on which to base certain therapy decisions. Pijls, DeBruyne et al., Measurement of Fractional Flow Reserve to Assess the Functional Severity of Coronary-Artery Stenoses, 334:1703-1708,
"One method of measuring the pressure gradient across a lesion is to use a small catheter connected to a blood pressure measurement sensor. The catheter would be passed over the guidewire which has already been placed across the lesion. The catheter would be advanced down the guidewire until the tip of the catheter crosses the lesion. The blood pressure on the distal side of the lesion is recorded. This pressure would be divided by the pressure value recorded in the aorta. A disadvantage of using this method is that some error may be introduced due to the cross sectional size of the catheter. As the catheter crosses the lesion, the catheter itself introduces blockage, in addition to that caused by the lesion itself. The measured distal pressure would therefore be somewhat lower than it would be without the additional flow obstruction, which may exaggerate the measured pressure gradient across the lesion.
"Pressure drop can also be measured across a heart valve. When a heart valve is regurgitant, a less than optimal pressure drop is typically observed. Using a catheter to measure pressure drop is common across a heart valve. However, because of the catheter size, the heart valve may not seal well around the catheter. Leakage might also result from the presence of the catheter and may contribute to an inaccurate pressure drop reading. One example of where this could occur is in the mitral valve (e.g., mitral valve regurgitation).
"One method of measuring blood pressure in a patient is to use a pressure sensing guidewire. Such a device has a pressure sensor embedded within the guidewire itself. A pressure sensing guidewire could be used in the deployment of interventional devices such as angioplasty balloons or stents. Prior to the intervention, the pressure sensing guidewire would be deployed across a stenotic lesion so the sensing element is on the distal side of the lesion and the distal blood pressure is recorded. The guidewire may then be retracted so the sensing element is on the proximal side of the lesion. The pressure gradient across the stenosis and the resulting FFR value could then be calculated.
"To use a guidewire-based pressure sensor in certain applications, the guidewire must be repositioned so the sensing element of the guidewire is correctly placed with respect to a stenotic lesion, for example. Blood pressure measurements for calculating FFR, for example, are generally taken on both sides of a given stenosis, so the guidewire is typically retracted across the stenosis to make the upstream measurement. After retracting the guidewire to make the proximal pressure measurement (aortic pressure or upstream coronary pressure), the guidewire may again be repositioned downstream of the lesion, for example, if it is determined (e.g., based on the FFR calculation) that an interventional device should be deployed. In cases where there are multiple lesions, the sensing element of a pressure sensing guidewire would need to be advanced and retracted across multiple lesions, and would potentially have to be advanced and repositioned again for each such lesion. Advancing and maneuvering a pressure sensing guidewire though stenotic lesions and the vasculature, for example, can be a difficult and/or time consuming task.
"Physician preference is another factor that may influence the choice of diagnostic tools or techniques used for certain applications. For example, some physicians may tend to become accustomed to using certain specific guidewires for certain applications. 'Standard' (e.g., commercially available) medical guidewires may vary in size, flexibility, and torque characteristics. A physician may prefer to use different guidewires for different tasks, for example, to access hard-to-reach anatomical areas, or when encountering bifurcations in arteries. Certain guidewires may therefore be better suited for specific tasks because of the torque and flexing characteristics, and a physician may display a strong preference for using a certain guidewire based on the specific task (or tasks) he or she is facing. A pressure sensing guidewire may have torque and flexing characteristics that are either unknown to the physician, or that are unsuitable for a particular task, because such a guidewire is specifically constructed to have a pressure sensor incorporated as part of the guidewire itself. As a result, a physician may find it difficult to maneuver a pressure sensing guidewire into an anatomical location of interest, as compared to a 'standard' (e.g., non-pressure sensing) medical guidewire.
"Having grown accustomed to the handling characteristics of a particular non-pressure sensing guidewire, a physician may be reluctant to employ a pressure sensing guidewire, which may increase the time and difficulty of positioning and repositioning the pressure sensing guidewire across a stenotic lesion, for example. In such cases, a physician may choose to forego the benefit of a diagnostic measurement, such as FFR, and simply choose to deploy some form of interventional therapy as a conservative approach to such decisions. If the diagnostic measurement techniques and the associated devices were simple enough to use, more physicians would use them and thereby make better therapy decisions."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Physiological sensor delivery devices and methods according to embodiments of the invention may be used in diagnostic applications, such as cardiovascular procedures in coronary arteries, interventional radiology applications in peripheral arteries, and structural heart applications in heart valves.
"An intravascular sensor delivery device according to some embodiments of the invention comprises a distal sleeve with a guidewire lumen for sliding over a medical guidewire, a sensor coupled to the distal sleeve, the sensor adapted to measure a physiological parameter of a patient and generate a signal representative of the physiological parameter. A proximal portion is coupled to the distal sleeve. The proximal portion comprises a communication channel for communicating the signal from the sensor to a location outside of the patient (such as a display monitor, or another medical device, etc.). The proximal portion of the sensor delivery device is adapted to facilitate positioning of the sensor within a vascular structure of the patient.
"A method of assessing the severity of a stenotic lesion in a blood vessel of a patient according to some embodiments of the invention comprises deploying an intravascular sensor delivery device over a guidewire to a position such that the sensor is distal to the lesion, and measuring a distal pressure. In some embodiments, the method may next comprise using the sensor delivery device to move the sensor to a position proximal of the lesion and measuring proximal (e.g., aortic) pressure, then calculating a ratio (or some other quantitative comparison) of the two pressure measurements. In some embodiments, the proximal pressure may be obtained from a separate pressure sensing apparatus (e.g., a pressure sensor connected to a fluid injection system), and the distal and proximal pressure measurements may be made substantially simultaneously (e.g., to reduce timing errors, etc.) before making a quantitative comparison of the two values."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Manstrom, Dale R.; Raatikka, Amy R.; Wilson, Robert F.; Miller, Edward R.; Pak,
Keywords for this news article include: Therapy, Treatment,
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