Over seven million Americans suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a painful and debilitating disease that affects veins in the lower extremities. Veins in the legs have one-way valves that usually function to prevent blood from pooling at the feet, but malfunctioning valves can cause leg swelling, ulcerations, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. Current treatments for CVI include anti-coagulant drugs, bed-rest and compressive legwear, but these target the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause. The standard surgical treatment is valve transplantation, but it's difficult to find suitable donor valves, and the surgery is highly invasive.
This E-Team has fabricated a prosthetic vein valve that can be implanted in a lower-risk, minimally invasive procedure. The valve is flexible, biocompatible, does not form blood clots, and can be manufactured cheaply. The team has shown that the valve is operationally functional; they are now performing pre-clinical tests in preparation for FDA approval.