Texas Heart Institute Physician Helps
Texas A&M Students
Develop Device to Help Heart Failure Patients
Project earns second place in annual Engineering
HOUSTON (May 7, 2014) - A team of
Texas A&M University bio-medical engineering students, mentored and advised
by Texas Heart Institute (THI) Director of Electrophysiology Clinical Research
Mehdi Razavi, MD, took second place in the University’s annual Engineering
Projects Showcase. The Texas A&M Showcase is a demonstration of small-team
and individual undergraduate research projects, and is also a contest judged by
A&M faculty and community experts. Dr. Razavi’s team spent the last nine
months researching the design of a small, electronic, early-detection device to
alert congestive heart failure patients about fluid build-up in their lungs so
they can seek treatment before the condition warrants hospitalization.
Almost 5 million people in the United
States are living with congestive heart failure (CHF), the leading cause of
hospitalization for patients 65 years and older. CHF often causes pulmonary
edema (PE), a build-up of fluid in the extravascular space within the lungs. PE
causes shortness of breath and overall patient discomfort. Unless detected and
treated early, the fluid build-up can progress and lead to costly
re-hospitalizations and drug therapies to reverse the fluid build-up.
The increase of fluid in the lungs due
to PE changes the overall conductive properties of tissue in the chest. Thus,
the Personal Lung Fluid Analyzer (PeLFA) designed by the team noninvasively
measures the bioimpedance of the chest to detect and alert patients
before they experience symptoms and fully develop PE, avoiding hospitalization.
The device potentially could empower patients to independently monitor the
progression of fluid build-up and make small changes in diet and medication,
and thus help avoid hospitalization.
Prototypes of the device involved
applying small electrodes to the skin near the base of the right lung,
inputting a very small, constant electrical current through these electrodes,
and then measuring the subsequent impedance, or resistance, of the chest
tissue. This bioimpedance technology has minimal adverse risks and is very
similar to the technique employed by handheld body fat percentage analyzers
that are commonly available at fitness facilities and gyms.
“The ability to detect fluid
accumulation in a simple noninvasive manner on an outpatient basis will have a
profound impact on our patients' outcomes,” said Dr. Razavi.
The team consisted of Ana Flores, Eric
Gros, Michael Holtzclaw, Sandeep Kancharla, Zachary Paulson, and Phillip
Simpson. They were advised by Dr. Razavi and A&M Engineering
Professors Dr. Duncan Maitland and Alan Brewer. The event involved more than
600 students on 150 teams. Currently, the team is completing a grant
application for the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s
BMEStart competition to try to receive further funding for refining the device
for improved sensitivity, and for safety and effectiveness testing in a
clinical setting. Eventually, the device will be tested for authorized clinical
trials targeted toward FDA approval.
For media inquiries please contact:
Director of Public Affairs
Texas Heart Institute
Frank Michel ♦ 832-355-9510 ♦ firstname.lastname@example.org
For THI media profile, see Public Affairs.