Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Micro Blood Flow Monitor For Heart Surgery

Researchers at the University of Flinders, in Australia, have developed a micro blood flow monitor. The continuous cardicac flow monitoring probe uses a tiny fibre-optic sensor that is no bigger than 1mm. It's incredibly small size means that can accurately detect blood flow in patients ranging from pre-term babies to the elderly.


The tip of the blood flow sensor can measure blood temperature changes with the aid of LED technology.
The tip of the sensor can measure blood temperature changes with the aid of LED technology. Credit: Flinders University

“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,” says John Arkwright, Strategic Professor at Flinders University. 


From the Flinders University article: "'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 and LED technology to measure temperature variations, which has the potential to advance monitoring in a medical setting."


Read more about the micro blood flow monitor for heart surgery at Flinders University


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