New Heart Valve Prosthesis that self-assess its functionality

The invention is a heart valve prosthesis, with an internal microelectronic circuit for monitoring the movement of the valve leaflets or of the movable opening and closing elements of said heart valve prosthesis, and external electronic system for telemetric monitoring of such prosthesis.

Title of the patent Heart valve prosthesis with integrated electronic circuit for measuring intravalvular electrical impedance, and system for monitoring functionality of the prosthesis
Thematic area Biomedical
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna
Inventors Emanuela Marcelli
Protection Europe, USA, China
Licensing status Available for licensing agreement
Keywords Intravalvular impedance, heart valve prosthesis, monitoring, impedance measurement, valvular leaflet rupture
Filed on Apr 16, 2014

After implantation, the state of operation of heart valve prostheses, of whatever type, is currently monitored with periodic follow-up and with imaging systems, at specialized health structures.

In tissue valve prostheses may occur alterations of the valve leaflets owing to calcification phenomena which may lead to an altered functionality of the valve prostheses, whereas in mechanical valve prostheses the state of operation of the movable closing and opening elements may be jeopardized by trombo-embolic phenomena, that can be mitigated and controlled with an adequate anticoagulant therapy.

Since the number of patients with implanted cardiac systems is increasing considerably, it would be useful for the community to have sensorized valve prostheses, which can interact with an external monitoring terminal, having, for example, the size and weight of a smartphone or tablet, to make it possible to check at home the state of operation of the said valve prostheses; in this way a patient can go to the specialised health structure only when said monitoring terminal detects an anomaly in operation of the sensorized prosthesis and issues a warning.

It is evident that such a monitoring system could improve the quality of life of patients with implanted valve prostheses, also reducing mortality when said monitoring system indicates situations of alarm related to a highly probable state of deterioration of the valve prosthesis; in this way the patient himself can be alerted and can move to a specialised health structure for possible early replacement of said heart valve prosthesis before the latter is damaged.