Mahmoud Almasri and Shuping Zhang

Principal Investigators

Raghuraman Kannan, PhD

Department of Bioengineering and Department of Radiology

Ajit Tharakan, MD

Department of Surgery

Raghuraman Kannan, PhD (left)
Ajit Tharakan, MD (right)

Near Infrared Navigation System (NAVI) for image-guided surgery in coronary artery bypass grafting

More than 370,000 people in the United States die each year from coronary artery disease(CAD), making it the leading cause of death among both men and women. Nearly 400,000 Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) surgeries are performed annually to improve blood flow to the hearts of patients with CAD. During CABG procedures, surgeons use Doppler scans to confirm blood flow in the newly grafted artery before closing the patient’s chest. Although Doppler is the current gold standard, its clinical utility is limited because it is an indirect assessment of blood flow. Near-infrared (NIR) imaging is emerging as a novel method for direct assessment of blood flow in grafts. However, currently available instruments are cumbersome to use in the operating room because of their large size and are too expensive for many hospitals. The principal investigators have developed a portable, low cost NIR fluorescent system (NAVI) that enables real-time visualization of blood flow during CABG surgeries. With NAVI, all light except the fluorescence emitted from the NIR dye is “blacked out,” which enables effective visualization of standalone fluorescence. The investigators have tested the device in swine using the FDA approved NIR dye Indocyanine and have demonstrated equivalence or superiority of NAVI to CT angiography as a method of confirming blood flow. The next step is for surgeons to use NAVI in operating rooms to directly visualize blood flow during CABG surgeries.