A device that determines how a patient’s blood is clotting – information that could help doctors prescribe more personalized doses of a popular anti-clotting drug – won first prize at the Fall 2011 Capstone Design Expo.

Heart-Thromb was developed by Siddharth Gurnani, Nicholas Turturro, Kelly Hefelfinger, Oscar Martinez and Pranav Gandhi, a team of mechanical engineering seniors.

“It’s the only [machine] of its kind that mimics actual conditions of your heart and can give you a personalized dosage of Plavix, which is the most common way of treating cardiovascular disease and the third most prescribed drug in the U.S.,” Siddharth Gurnani said.

The device could potentially help patients get a customized dose of Plavix right away, which is important because “too much prescription of Plavix can cause internal bleeding and organ failure, and too little can cause heart attacks,” Gurnani said.

The Fall 2011 Capstone Design Expo was held in the Georgia Tech’s Clough Commons on Dec. 8. At the semester-ending event, held by the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, student teams systematically design, build and report solutions, in the form of prototypes or designs of prototypes, for a variety of problems submitted from industrial sponsors or their own imagination.

Second place was awarded to ThromBOSSES, developed by seniors Kevin Parsons, Priya Patil, Benji Hoover, Daniel Pak, Matthew Lee, Eric Kopfle, Josh DeVane and Poornima Vekataraman. This project was a redesign of a sternal retractor used during median sternotomy surgeries. Median sternotomy provides access to the heart and lungs for surgical procedures such as heart transplant, coronary artery bypass and corrective surgery for congenital heart defects.

Third place went to Re-Hand, an in-home rehabilitative device for strengthening hand muscles, following injury or a debilitating medical condition. The Re-Hand would allow for testing and rehabilitation of individual fingers and accommodates for testing at different wrist positions. It also increases patients’ motivation through an interactive game. Students involved with the Re-Hand project include seniors Daphne Vincent, Elizabeth LeMar, Kunal McDonal and Alkindi Kibria.