Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. In the US alone, one person every minute dies from CVD. Approximately 50% of these deaths are caused by coronary heart disease; a narrowing of the arteries that surround and supply blood to the heart muscle.

Treatment

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is the preferred method of treatment for heart disease sufferers. It comprises making a small access hole in either the groin (femoral artery) or wrist (radial artery) and reopening the constricted vessel by deploying a balloon or stent inside the lesion.

Before the balloon/stent is delivered, a guidewire is used to navigate from the access point to the lesion. These wires are 0.014” (0.36mm) in diameter, and are navigated by twisting and advancing them through the tiny, often tortuous arteries of the heart. Navigation is made possible by hand forming a small bend in the distal end of the wire prior to insertion.

Challenges

It can be extremely difficult to navigate a guidewire to a lesion in order to deliver therapy.

This can result in:

  • longer procedure times and higher radiation doses (where multiple attempts to pass the wire are required);
  • failure to deliver therapy; or
  • in extreme cases, morbidity or mortality (e.g. if a stiffer wire is deployed and causes trauma).


This challenge is reflected in the fact that, on average, interventionists worldwide use 1.6 guidewires per case, where typically only one should be needed. 

To address this, IntelliMedical has developed the IntelliWire, the first robotically-steerable 0.014” guidewire for use in PCI procedures. Learn more.