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Thai researchers win gold medal for smart atrial flow regulator

Dec 13. 2019
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King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi’s Smart Material Laboratory has won a gold medal from the International Trade Fair of Ideas, Inventions and New Products, (iENA2019), held recently in Nuremberg, Germany, Assoc Prof. Anak Khantachawana of KMUTT’s Bioengineering Faculty, announced this week.

The research team, made up of members of the Smart Material Laboratory and cardiovascular doctors from Ramathibodi Hospital lead by Dr Theerapat Yingchonjaroen, won the award for their “Atrial Flow Regulator from Smart Material for Heart Failure Patients.”

“We worked closely together to design this device which expands the heart wall and will greatly increase the survival rate of heart patients during surgery,” he said,

Anak further explained that the Atrial Flow Regulator (AFR), also called an Interatrial Shunt Device (IASD), can expand the wall of the upper left chamber of heart, relieving the pressure within the heart and improving the blood flow. “Our AFR is special because it is made of shape memory alloy, a mixture of nickel and titanium which has a shape memory effect and super-elastic capability. These features enable easier installation via a small cardiac catheter and reduce the risk in open-heart surgery,” he added.

“This project has taken more than 2 years to complete and it will help heart patients to have safer surgery and faster recovery time,” said Anak.

Statistics from Ministry of Public Health indicate that Thailand saw more than 54,000 deaths from heart failure in 2014 and the figure is on the rise. The major causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure.

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