Physician preparing for surgery
Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Fourth-year mechanical engineering capstone design project now breakthrough treatment for stroke patients

While finishing up their undergraduate degrees, two Waterloo Engineering students, Michael Phillips and Phillip Cooper (BASc ’17, mechanical engineering), developed a tiny camera – just one-third of a millimetre in diameter, to diagnose stroke patients as part of their fourth-year design project. This invention also marked the founding of Vena Medical.

“What our camera does is allow doctors to see exactly what’s going on inside of a blood vessel, providing information they’ve never had before,” said Michael Phillips (BASc ’17), CEO and co-founder of Vena Medical. 

Vena’s MicroAngioscope™ can pinpoint the cause of a stroke attack in just one hour. Right now, physicians typically use X-rays to diagnose, navigate, and treat patients who suffer from a stroke but are unable to determine the cause of a stroke for about one-third of patients who experience multiple strokes. With this pint-size invention, doctors can see precisely what’s going on inside the brain’s blood vessels.

The technology has been used by doctors at The Ottawa Hospital, who were able to pinpoint the cause of the stroke attack with a real-time full-colour view of the vessels inside the brain of a patient suffering from multiple strokes and started treatment quickly after the diagnosis.

Read A breakthrough treatment for stroke patients for the full story.