The Endosenor from CardioMEMS, Atlanta, (www.cardiomems.com) provides a low-cost and safe way to check stents inserted to treat abdominal aneurysms, a weakening of the lower aorta. A person can die within minutes after it ruptures. Until now, doctors treated the condition with a stent placed inside the bulging artery to brace it and relieve pressure by opening a channel for blood flow. But stents can fail, letting blood seep into the aneurysm, causing it to grow and possibly burst. Doctors could also monitor the aneurysm with CT scans. But CT scans are expensive, time consuming, and don't really monitor pressure, which is what doctors are most concerned about. CT scans also expose patients to radiation and contrast dyes that are toxic to the kidneys.

The new device is inserted in the blood vessel along with the stent. Physicians use a radio frequency emitted from a wand to interrogate and download pressure data. The sensor is undergoing clinical trials and should be on the market by the middle of this year.