Fiber Optic Pediatric BloodOx Meter

Fiber Optic Pediatric BloodOx Meter


Patrick Sowa

Maggie Foster

Jonathan Wilkes

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Project Abstract

During pediatric heart surgery, it is necessary to take measurements of the oxygen concentration of the infant’s blood multiple times from multiple locations. Understanding the variation of blood oxygen levels in the arteries, veins, and the cavities of the heart permits the operating physician to make more educated decisions for treating the specific malady of the patient. Currently, the only method of data collection used by surgeons is drawing the blood via syringe for each individual measurement. Because the patient is punctured so frequently and because they lose a significant quantity of blood relative to their small body size, this practice is invasive and not ideal for pediatric surgery.

A less invasive method to collect data could be continuous and intravenous. Appropriately sized fiber optic cables could be fed through a catheter in the femoral artery, for instance. With enough length and a minimized bend radius, the fibers could be navigated through the vascular system to any site as designated by the surgical team. The design requires the cable’s outer diameter to be at most 0.035 inches. An external light source would send a particular wavelength of light through the fiber to arrive at the tip of the tool within the infant’s blood. Light emanating from the tip would encounter the contents of the blood. A portion of the light energy that is not absorbed by the blood would be reflected back to the receiving fiber to be transmitted to a microprocessor. A system would have to be designed to analyze the information coming back to the processor and output it in a meaningful fashion to the surgical team.

This project divides easily into two parts—one that could be designed by someone with biological understanding and another that would encompass the microprocessor with data processing capability. The former would include designing a light source and fiber optic cables that meet biocompatibility standards.