A statement from the university said the new device could be better at the task of monitoring the flow of blood through the aorta, the main artery, during intensive care and surgical procedures which often took a long time and were quite risky.
“The minimally invasive device is suitable for neonates right through to adults,” said research leader, Strategic Professor John Arkwright, an expert in using fibre-optic technologies in medical diagnostics.
He said the device would be particularly useful during surgery on very young babies who are more susceptible to sudden drops in blood pressure and oxygen delivery to vital organs.
The continuous cardiac flow monitoring probe is the little black bit after the LED. Photo: Flinders University
Neonatal expert and co-investigator Dr Scott Morris, from the Flinders Medical Centre Neonatal Unit and Flinders University College of Medicine and Public Health, said the new device promised 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,” he said.
More research will be needed to find out how the sensor will behave under different physiological conditions and to examine different encapsulations to comply with human safety.
A paper on the device, titled Optical flow sensor for continuous invasive measurement of blood flow velocity, was published in the Journal of Biophotonics in May.