When deployed by an angiogram catheter, a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) thermal sensor can detect the early onset of atherosclerosis.
Shear stress is the frictional force, which acts on the vessel walls due to the flow of blood. Combination of oxidative stress and inflammatory reaction causes atherosclerosis. The flow is disturbed in areas prone to atherosclerosis.
The USC team developed a MEMS by depositing platinum and titanium on a flexible polymer membrane. Sensing elements were formed by patterning the deposits. The scientists used an angiogram catheter to deploy the sensor into the abdominal and aortic arteries of rabbits, which were on a high-cholesterol and high-fat diet.