Blood-Flow Sensor

Innovative Medical Device

Researchers at Stanford University recently developed a wireless, battery-free, biodegradable blood flow sensor that will make it easier for doctors to monitor the success of blood vessel surgery.  The sensor monitors the flow of blood through an artery and can warn a patient’s doctor if there is a blockage.  Because it is biodegradable, battery-free and wireless; it does not need to be removed.


“Measurement of blood flow is critical in many medical specialties, so a wireless biodegradable sensor could impact multiple fields including vascular, transplant, reconstructive and cardiac surgery,” said Paige Fox, assistant professor of surgery and co-senior author of the paper. “As we attempt to care for patients throughout the Bay Area, Central Valley, California and beyond, this is a technology that will allow us to extend our care without requiring face-to-face visits or tests.”

This device will be crucial in the monitoring of blood vessels post-surgery because currently the first sign of trouble often comes too late.  This sensor will let doctors check up on patient’s healing vessels from afar.

The sensor wraps snugly around the healing vessel. Where blood pulsing past pushes on its inner surface.  As the shape of that surface changes, it alters the sensor’s capacity to store electric charge, which doctors can detect remotely from a device located near the skin but outside of the body.  That device solicits a reading by pinging the antenna of the senor, similar to an ID card scanner. In the future, the device could come in the form of a stick-on patch or integrated into other technology like a wearable device or smart phone.

Works Cited: Biomedical Engineering


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