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Thread: Engineer with Marfan Syndrome designs own life-saving implant

  1. #1
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    Engineer with Marfan Syndrome designs own life-saving implant

    "’My aorta was dilating all through that period,’ said Golesworthy. ’When you’ve got the scalpel of Damocles hanging over your sternum, it motivates you into making things happen and so they do…to me it seemed like a ridiculously obvious solution. The only way to do this was with CAD and RP. It shouldn’t have taken an engineer to realise that, but it did.’

    Golesworthy believes that projects such as this demonstrate that the interface between engineers and the rest of the world isn’t functioning in the way it should. ’When it does function, huge advances can be made in a very short time period, on very little money,’ he said. ’We have changed the world for people with aortic dilation and we have done it on a fraction of the cost.’

    In May 2004, Golesworthy became the first recipient of his own invention after undergoing surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Since then, 23 patients have successfully had the implant fitted and another seven are hoping to undergo the procedure. According to Golesworthy, the technique will soon replace the Bentall procedure and could be used to treat other heart conditions.

    An implant is not the only option. One further area that could in the future prove beneficial to people with Marfan syndrome is tissue engineering. But Golesworthy is concerned that with tissue engineering, as with other areas in medicine, engineers are not getting as involved as they should be. He believes that the multi-disciplinary teams undertaking the research currently do not have the best skills base.

    ’They are all biologists and medics, and they need process engineers,’ he said. ’To tissue engineer an aorta and ascending valve outside of the body you have got to mimic the conditions in which they would normally grow. You need a bioreactor extraordinaire and that, really, is process engineering.’

    With funding constraints likely to impact on healthcare research, the ability of engineers to work alongside biologists and chemists in the future will prove crucial. As Golesworthy proved, despite the millions being poured into medical research, sometimes it just takes an engineer to see the solution in areas where others have been unable to."



    Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/in-dept...#ixzz1CApJMDHL

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    It is my understanding that taking beta blockers not only can avoid the need for aorta replacement but can actually allow shrinkage of an already enlarged aorta.

    I called a question into a cardiologist doing a radio show and he said beta blockers are indeed safe to take forever (or at least a few decades which is the data in hand).

    So it may be a pill a day for the rest of your life but that is a better deal than vessel/valve/heart surgery.

    So I think this surgery will be reserved for people who are diagnosed too late or who actually are presenting with an incipient aortic dissection. I will ask my daughter's cardiologist in 1.5 years when I see him next (if I remember!).
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  3. #3
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    This is a great story.

    Its unfortunate that he basically was under the gun with this problem. I guess, that’s what it takes sometimes.

    I contribute whenever I can.

    Funny, I was reading about John Ritter last night. He died from aortic dissection.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
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