An Australian research team has created a Micro Motor that is so small it can be driven through the arteries of the brain.
The motor is about the size of a grain of salt and is said to have the equivalent power of a small kitchen appliance.
It is invisible to the naked eye.
current technology is a fixed tube that feeds a catheter to the site of
a stroke, but when it is powered by the new motor doctors will be able
to steer the catheter.
Associate Professor Bernard Yan of the
Royal Melbourne Hospital's neuro-intervention service is hoping to use
the micro-motor to treat strokes and aneurisms.
"At this stage we are targeting the arteries of the brain," he said.
of course there is no reason why this cannot be applied to other parts
of the body such as the heart, kidneys or other organ systems."
The project is a collaboration between RMIT University and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
was developed by senior research fellows at RMIT University, Professor
James Friend, fellow RMIT University Professor Leslie Yeo and Associate
Micromotor developed to treat strokes
PHOTO: When the new motor is in use doctors will be able to steer the catheter through the artery. (Supplied)
Associate Professor Yan says there is a drastic need to improve surgical equipment used to treat stroke victims.
says problem with the current technology has been likened to trying to
feed a "half-boiled piece of spaghetti" through a wet paper tube.
"It is intensely frustrating when, in the heat of the moment you know you are racing against time," he said.
"There's a time window beyond which there will be no chance of saving that patient.
when you come across about 40 per cent of cases which are difficult and
about 15 per cent of cases that are downright impossible, it's very
Associate Professor Yan says the device will be particularly helpful for surgeons treating older patients.
undergo wear and tear over time. So with the younger patients, the
20-year-olds, their arteries are fairly straight and easy to get to," he
"[But] for example in the 80-year-olds, the arteries are as windy as the Great Ocean Road.
provides two components. It provides more power to enable the catheter
to get to where we want it to get to, but it allows us manoeuvrability."
motor is currently undergoing intense laboratory testing and is not
expected to be given approval for use in surgery until at least 2016.
it does, it is expected to reduce the rate of cases in which surgeons
are unable to operate, from 15 per cent, to less than 5 per cent.