Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Designing a Patient-Connected Blood Infusion System

An engineer at a medical device manufacturer was tasked to design a patient-connected blood infusion system. One of the mandatory requirements for this application was for a sensor to be capable of detecting unwanted air bubbles which could potentially become present in the intravenous blood tubing line. This sensor was to alarm immediately as a bubble would pass by. The engineer chose an air bubble sensor which operated using optical technology. He quickly realized that although the optical sensor would alarm on some bubbles, the blood which would stain the inside of the tubing was actually masking bubbles, thus allowing them to pass by undetected. If this were to happen during a medical procedure, the undetected air entering a patient's circulatory system could cause an air embolism which could harm the patient. This engineer knew he had to find a reliable solution.

The AD-101 series, a non-invasive ultrasonic air bubble detector, provided repeatable detection of all air bubbles passing through the flow path of the tubing. The ultrasonic bubble detector was able to sense every air bubble flowing through the tubing even with discoloration or coating of blood present on the tubing's inner walls. The AD-101 operates with high reliability and its detection capabilities are independent of optical or dielectric properties of the tubing and liquid. The air bubble detector quickly became the sensor of choice for this manufacturer's infusion pump system and is now installed in all of their production devices. The AD-101 sensors are used widely in critical applications including medical and lab automated instrumentation as well as in other industries. These bubble detectors can be customized to exact electrical and mechanical specifications.

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