Blood flow monitor could save lives

July 08, 2019

A tiny fibre-optic sensor has the potential to save lives in open heart surgery, and even during surgery on pre-term babies.

The new micro-medical device could surpass traditional methods used to monitor blood flow through the aorta during prolonged and often dangerous intensive care and surgical procedures - even in the tiniest of patients.

The continuous cardiac flow monitoring probe, under development at Flinders University, is a safe way to give a real-time measurement of blood flow.

"The minimally invasive device is suitable for neonates right through to adults," says research leader Strategic Professor John Arkwright, an expert in using fibre-optic technologies in medical diagnostics.

Professor Arkwright says the device has the potential to be a game-changer - particularly for very young babies, which are particularly susceptible to sudden drops in blood pressure and oxygen delivery to their vital organs.

"It's a far more responsive measurement compared to traditional blood flow monitoring - and without life-threatening delays in the period 'snapshot' provided by current blood flow practices using ultrasound or thermo-dilution."

Neonatal expert and co-investigator Dr Scott Morris, from the Flinders Medical Centre Neonatal Unit and Flinders University College of Medicine and Public Health, says the new sensor-catheter device promises to deliver accurate blood flow information in critically ill patients, from pre-term babies to cardiac bypass patients.

"This tiny device, which could even be used in pre-term infants, has the potential to be far superior to the intermittent measure of averaged blood flow delivered by traditional methods which generally only show time averaged flow every 30 minutes or so," Dr Morris says.

A provision patent has been filed for the device, which is seeking industry partners for further development.

Chief investigator Albert Ruiz-Vargas hopes the device will be picked up for further development, and introduction into regular intensive care and surgical procedures.

"The proof-of-concept prototype is potentially a low-cost device which has passed initial testing in a heart-lung machine," Dr Ruiz-Vargas says.

"It can be inserted through a small keyhole aperture in the skin into the femoral artery in individuals where heart function is compromised and is so small it can even measure small changes in flow in the tiny blood vessels of infants.

"It's a simple design, which can give readouts similar to a pulsating heartbeat response on a laptop or nearby screen."

For the first time, the Flinders researchers have found an effective model to continuously measure intra-pulse blood flow using a fibre-optic sensor which has the potential to advance monitoring in a medical setting.

They say more research is now required to determine how the sensor will behave under more physiological conditions and to examine different encapsulations to comply with human safety.
-end-
More information 'Optical flow sensor for continuous invasive measurement of blood flow velocity,' (May 2019) by Albert Ruiz-Vargas, Scott A Morris, Richard H Hartley and John W Arkwright, published in the Journal of Biophotonics (Wiley) https://doi.org/10.1002/jbio.201900139

Flinders University

Related Blood Flow Articles from Brightsurf:

Brain regions with impaired blood flow have higher tau levels
In Alzheimer's disease, impaired blood flow to brain regions coincides with tau protein buildup.

3D ultrasound enables accurate, noninvasive measurements of blood flow
A 3D ultrasound system provides an effective, noninvasive way to estimate blood flow that retains its accuracy across different equipment, operators and facilities, according to a new study.

Blood flow recovers faster than brain in micro strokes
Work by a Rice neurobiologist shows that increased blood flow to the brain is not an accurate indicator of neuronal recovery after a microscopic stroke.

Exercise improves memory, boosts blood flow to brain
Scientists have collected plenty of evidence linking exercise to brain health, with some research suggesting fitness may even improve memory.

3D VR blood flow to improve cardiovascular care
Biomedical engineers are developing a massive fluid dynamics simulator that can model blood flow through the full human arterial system at subcellular resolution.

MRI shows blood flow differs in men and women
Healthy men and women have different blood flow characteristics in their hearts, according to a new study.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Blood flow monitor could save lives
A tiny fibre-optic sensor has the potential to save lives in open heart surgery, and even during surgery on pre-term babies.

Changes in blood flow tell heart cells to regenerate
Altered blood flow resulting from heart injury switches on a communication cascade that reprograms heart cells and leads to heart regeneration in zebrafish.

Blood flow command center discovered in the brain
An international team of researchers has discovered a group of cells in the brain that may function as a 'master-controller' for the cardiovascular system, orchestrating the control of blood flow to different parts of the body.

Read More: Blood Flow News and Blood Flow Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.