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New device to bring down cost of tracking open heart surgeries

Tracking results of open heart surgeries may soon become easier and cheaper,thanks to a simple, cost effective palm size blood flow meter developed by scientists of the prestigious Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) here. India is currently fully dependent on imported blood flow meters to precisely measure blood flow rates – a critical parameter to measure the outcome of open heart surgeries. However, this becomes expensive with each unit costing upto Rs 25 lakh to 30 lakh and can be afforded only by very few super speciality hospitals in India. The research team at the city based SCTIMST,an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology under the union government, has developed the palm size device that measures the flow rate of blood using a novel magnetic method and a signal conditioning technique,a press release from the institute said.

“The device has a mechanism to produce a magnetic field, an electronic measurement system and a disposable biocompatible tube fitted with electrodes which are kept over the magnetic field. When blood passes through the tube under the influence of this magnetic field, a voltage is generated across the electrodes which is proportional to the rate of blood flow. The novel method of generation of the magnetic field and detection of the voltage gives the device better accuracy of measurements”, the released added. The technical knowhow of this portable battery device, which can be operated with battery has been transferred to EnProducts, a Kochi based company, for commercial production. Its novel concept can reduce the cost of production of the device considerably to few thousands of Rupees, it said. In addition to its application in bypass surgery, this device can be used for measuring flow of conductive fluids for various industrial applications.

“This indigenous technology of blood flow meter will considerably reduce the cost of the device to a few thousands from around Rs 25 lakh and make it available to public hospitals for safer and less expensive cardiac surgeries. SCTIMST has developed technologies for many devices used for cardiac surgeries and this is the latest of them,” said Dr Asha Kishore, Director, SCTIMST. The device developed by the engineering team, comprising Sarath S Nair,Vinod Kumar V, Sreedevi V and Nagesh DS of the Department of Medical Devices Engineering in Biomedical Technology Wing, has undergone laboratory tests and pre-clinical animal evaluations and has all the essential features to perform the necessary functions. It is compliant with national and international standards and guidelines and is manufactured using components sourced from established supply chains within the country, the release said. The Institute has applied for a patent and published two scientific papers based on this technology. – PTI

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