Chronic measurement of fluid flow is essential in the long-term monitoring of many diseases such as those related to the heart and kidney. For instance, balloon angioplasty procedures, which implant a stent within blood vessels are commonly used in coronary artery disease. Monitoring of blood flow within those vessels is crucial to monitor for potential recoiling of blood vessels or plaque deposition that might result in reclosures. Methods relying on blood conductance, thermal resistance, differential pressure and acoustic signals have been used.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an electromagnetic sensor device that can be used to monitor fluid flow in a channel. In particular the device consists of electrodes that are fitted within a radially expandable frame that is conformable to the channel structure. For monitoring within blood vessels, the voltage induced by blood flow would be measured electromagnetically by the pair of electrodes. An antenna can also be incorporated within the device design that is inductively coupled to the pair of electrodes, thus enabling wirelessly monitoring of the induced voltage. The completed structure does not rely on any bonded or hinged joints and exhibits high mechanical strength.
Applications and Advantages
- Chronic and long-term monitoring of fluid-nl-flow such as blood flow in vessels.
- Operational features that are superior to-nl-conventional methods (e.g., linear relationship-nl-between output and flow, no need-nl-for sensing diaphragms.)
- No hinged or bonded joints in device structure-nl-thus mechanically strong.
- Wireless read out for facile device operation-nl-for chronic monitoring.