ARTSENS: How Indian technology is fighting heart disease
Timely detection is required to stop cardiovascular disease - and this is where ARTSENS comes in
India needs no introduction to Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs). No longer associated with old age, CVDs are finding their way into younger demographics as well thanks to deteriorating diets and lifestyles. Globally too, CVDs are the number one cause of death. According to the WHO, more people die annually from CVDs than any other disease. And it is likely to remain so with the number predicted to reach 23.3.million by 2030.
In this scenario, its timely detection through affordable means that can save the day. Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre, a multi-disciplinary R&D centre, a joint initiative of Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, is doing just that with ARTSENS.
ARTSENS is an image-free technology to non-invasively investigate arterial wall dynamics and perform automatic measurements of arterial stiffness – a strong metric for prediction of future cardiovascular events. Traditional methods involve accurate measurement of changes in arterial dimensions that occur with every cardiac cycle. State-of-the-art systems use ultrasound imaging system to visualise arterial anatomy followed by visual identification of arterial walls to perform this measurement. This obviously requires expensive equipment and also technical expertise that limits its proliferation.
How it works
An acronym of ARTerial Stiffness Evaluation for Noninvasive Screening, ARTSENS effectively addresses these issues. A high-frequency ultrasound transducer captures the arterial wall dynamics. It sends out a beam of ultrasound pulses in the body. The echoes by various anatomical structures are received by the same transducer and analysed on the fly. A robust tracking system, set up with in-house development of signal acquisition and processing hardware along with processing techniques and automated measurement algorithms, display results almost immediately.
On the front end, the process is as simple as placing the probe on the patient’s neck, over the carotid artery, and the system gives out measurement of arterial stiffness within a minute.
An effective system validated in laboratory environment and clinical settings, ARTSENS demonstrated it could measure artery diameter and distension with error less than 10 percent and track wall motion with precision of 6um. For emerging economies like India, this system can turn saviour when used for primary diagnostics, triaging and large scale diagnostic screening. Small scale hospitals, in urban and non-urban areas alike, can use this technology as it neither involves a high cost nor require a high level of expertise.
A true example of how indigenous technology can bring in affordable healthcare for all.
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