PhD Studentship: Development of a Steerable Endovascular Catheter with Tactile Feedback

Ref: EngSci-BIO-105

Deadline: Applications will be accepted at any time until the position is filled.

The successful treatment of a vascular lesion via endovascular methods (wires, catheters and angioplasty balloons) is dependent on the ability to pass a guidewire across the lesion. In some patients, the blockage of the vessel lumen can be in the range of 50% to 100%, making the passage of the guidewire a challenging affair. As a result, a significant proportion of endovascular procedures are prolonged or abandoned due to failed wire traversal. Multiple or prolonged attempts at guidewire passage might lead to several undesirable side-effects, including an increased exposure to radiation dosage (fluoroscopy time) and an increased risk of developing intravascular complications from aggressive wire manipulation.

In this project, we propose a solution based on a microelectromechanical tactile sensor mounted on an endovascular catheter tip. As the catheter is manipulated at the lesion site, repeated contact with the vessel wall results in variations in deformations of the diaphragm. These variations are then translated into a visual image of the intraluminal stenosis or occlusion, thus pinpointing the real lumen. A guidewire can then be passed through the catheter with better precision across the lesion. A three axis force micro-electro-mechanical sensor (MEMS) equipped with a protruding tip will be developed for the above purpose. The sensor will be assembled together with application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) circuit to process the force related signal and multiplex them to simplify communication with the external display unit.

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This project is part of a collaboration between the University of Southampton and A*STAR Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME). The successful candidate will spend two years at A*STAR IME and during this time he will be supervised by Dr Cairan He from IME and Dr Suan Hui Pu from the University of Southampton Malaysia Campus (USMC). The subsequent two years will be spent at the Highfield campus and the candidate will be supervised by Dr Liudi Jiang.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Suan Hui Pu, USMC and Electromechanical Research Group, Email: [email protected], Tel: +60 7 560 2 461

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