The main application of the method is to monitor the effects of aspirin. Aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients; however, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries. Aspirin
is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication.
To test whether the microfluidic method
could be used to assess clotting risks, a study was undertaken which involved 14 human subjects. Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field intersecting engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, with practical applications to the design of systems in which small volumes of fluids will be handled.
The study used a device that simulated blood flowing through narrowed coronary arteries to assess effects of anti-clotting drugs. With the trials
, patientsâ€™ blood was tested in a patent-pending microfluidic device with narrow passageways to simulate the coronary arteries. The data are consistent with clinical findings showing that physiology has a major influence on the effectiveness of drugs used for heart attack prevention.
The outcome of the study was that the device appears successful. The researchers behind it believe that a benchtop diagnostic device like the one used in this study could save lives by preventing heart attacks.
The study was sponsored by the American Heart Association, a Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Grant, and by a fellowship from the Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) program at Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.