Winner of Concept’s $5K grant competition introduces a hands-free and non-invasive device to help doctors get real-time imaging of the heart in ICUs
By Angelica Marie Sanchez, University Relations
Infections can be a serious health issue. Early detection and information is key to help doctors determine the medical treatment that best fits the patient. However, evaluating the effectiveness of treatment becomes difficult when doctors are unable to get continuous imaging of the heart in real-time to monitor the blood flow and pressure in a patient.
“When a patient has an infection, they are taken to the hospital intensive care unit (ICU) where doctors will do a procedure called cardiac hemodynamics to determine if blood flow out of the heart is adequate,” says James Lowman, a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering and Applied Mathematics.
When a patient has an abnormal blood flow the doctors will need to do an ultrasound to see the inside of the patient’s heart. Unless there is a doctor trained as an echocardiograph technician, the hospital will need to call another doctor or relocate the patient, which in turn, will take a couple of hours and can cause further challenges.
“The important part is not what is happening instantly but what is happening over time,” Lowman says. “Is it getting worse or is it getting better – these trends need to be tracked.”