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Biomedical Engineering

Optoelectronic sensors for measuring splanchnic blood perfusion

Principle investigator

Professor P. A. Kyriacou


Dr M. Hickey


Professor R. M. Langford, St Bartholomew’s Hospital

Project overview

Tissue oxygen delivery plays a vital role in sustaining cellular viability and organ function and, ultimately, in sustaining life itself. If the supply of oxygenated blood to an organ is too low, tissue death and organ dysfunction can occur. Furthermore, the failure of one organ may lead to the failure of other organs, due to the release of toxins into the blood stream. This can give rise to a condition known as multiple organ failure, which remains a common cause of death in intensive care patients or those recovering from major surgery. Currently, there is no widely accepted technology to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood flowing in the gut. In an effort to develop such much needed technologies, the investigators propose the development of a series of advance optoelectronic sensors for investigating blood oxygen levels from the surface of various organs in the abdomen during surgery. This new sensing technology will have a direct benefit for a large number of patients where hypoperfusion of their abdominal organs can go undetected and lead into compromise clinical situations including death. There is clearly a lot of interest and great anticipation in the clinical community with regards to achieving a new method to continuously estimate splanchnic blood oxygen saturation. The developed technology will also be of great interest to medical devices industry.