Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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New Imaging Techniques III The Flow Inside

New imaging technique allows the body's blood flow to be monitored by shining light on the skin

05 December 2018

The Flow Inside

Contactless card payments may be common place, but contactless medical care sounds more like sci-fi than reality. However, this may be set to change now that scientists have designed a machine to measure blood flow through our arms without touching our skin. The new device shines green light onto the skin and records how much of this light bounces off the red blood cells that sit just beneath the skin’s surface. The intensity of reflected light varies according to the number of blood cells present. This provides useful information about the health of a patient’s vessels and their heart’s ability to pump blood. According to the researchers, their new device is cheaper and easier to use than previous techniques, which involved placing an inflated cuff around a patient’s limb to partially restrict the flow of blood. Now the team are developing the device to measure blood flow throughout the body.

Written by Deborah Oakley

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