Cardiovascular Research Laboratory

Headed by Marc D. Feldman, M.D., the Cardiovascular Research Lab labors to develop means of identifying and treating cardiovascular disease with a focus on developing devices that readily translate to surgical and intervention use.

Cardiac Bio-Impedance Physiologic Measurement Devices

Admittance technology is a bio-impedance measurement that distinguishes between blood and cardiac muscle, allowing for measurement of real-time blood volume. This technology is currently being developed for various applications, including detection of hemodynamically unstable arrhythmia for defibrillators and incorporation into chest tubes for non-invasive continuous hemodynamic monitoring in cardiac ICU patients. These projects are done in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Valvano at UT Austin.

Trabecular Cutting for Improvement of Diastolic Compliance

Severing trabeculae in the left ventricle is an innovative surgical approach to increase diastolic compliance in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. While existing pharmaceutical therapies have failed to acutely improve diastolic compliance, this technique offers a mechanical solution to immediately improve left the ventricular function and reduce symptoms in patients. In parallel, mechanical testing of trabeculae and computational modeling of the effects of trabecular cutting are being studied under the direction of Dr. Hai-Chao Han at UTSA.

Virtual Histology – Optical Coherence Tomography

Analogous to VH-IVUS, Virtual Histology – OCT software automatically interprets and colorizes IVOCT images with the advantages of:

  • Rapidly classifying arterial plaque types,
  • Confidently identifying vulnerable plaques invisible to angiography,
  • Providing ease-of-use for interventionists,
  • Eliminating subjectivity of image interpretation,
  • Augmenting clinical & non-clinical research efforts with morphological information.

The neural network algorithm underlying Virtual Histology – OCT is being developed in collaboration with Dr. Thomas E. Milner at UT Austin.

SmartLaser Wire

The SmartLaser Wire provides a novel way to cross chronic total occlusions (CTOs) in patients with severe coronary artery disease. This device combines imaging and ablation lasers with a cooling and debris management system inside a single catheter. The OCT imaging laser visualizes in depth through the CTO to detect the artery wall, allowing a surgeon to navigate the catheter across the CTO as the ablation laser swiftly, precisely and safely ablates through the occlusion. Crossing heavily calcified lesions has great potential to revolutionize the treatment of CTOs and to replace older complex methods like coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG). The engineering of this device is done in collaboration with the lab of Dr. Thomas E. Milner, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin.

Implantable Biotelemetry Catheter

In partnership with Transonic, Scisense, Inc., and Koronus Biotechnology, our labs are currently developing a chronically implantable catheter which transmits real-time hemodynamic data wirelessly (left ventricular pressure-volume). Applications for this device include use by big-pharma to test for cardiac toxicity of medications during drug development.

Venous Valves

Chronic venous insufficiency results from damaged venous valves failing to prevent backflow. While various designs for artificial implantable valves have been proposed, their shortcomings have included thrombogenicity, poor durability, and fluid flow disruption. The Cardiovascular Research Lab is collaborating with UT Health San Antonio’s Dr. Stephen Bailey and Dr. Teja Guda at UTSA BME to design a new model that overcomes these limitations.