A less invasive mitral valve repair system

Spring 2016
h-Toufic heart photo

Back row: Dr. Renzo Cecere, Toufic Azar, Jethro-Beattie-Booth and Elham El-Bitar.  Front row: Amanda Eldridge and Philippe Aubin. (Photo: Owen Egan)

Mechanical Engineering PhD student Toufic Azar is a prime example of the robust entrepreneurial spirit at work in our Faculty. A medical device that Azar developed will enable cardiac surgeons to use a more effective and less invasive technique when operating on patients suffering from mitral valve regurgitation disease. The minimally invasive approach reduces the risk and trauma associated with conventional open-heart surgery.

Azar won a 2012-2013 William and Rhea Seath Award in Engineering Innovation for his initial design, developed under the guidance of four McGill professors: Jorge Angeles, Jozsef Kovecses and Rosaire Mongrain, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Renzo Cecere, a cardiac surgeon at the McGill University Health Centre.

A year later, Azar and Cecere took first place honours at McGill’s annual Dobson Cup Competition for the modified valve repair device they submitted under the entrepreneurial competition’s Innovation Driven Enterprise track.

The duo continues to refine their design, expanding its application to other surgical procedures where conventional sutures are used. The photo above shows four Mechanical Engineering undergraduate students who worked on an anchoring mechanism that mimics open-heart surgical sutures in a minimally invasive approach. The undergrads took on the assignment for Azar and Cecere as part of their final-year capstone project―a prerequisite for graduating.



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