Injectable pressure sensor 'could save lives among spinal injury patients'

Engineering

A potentially groundbreaking injectable pressure sensor has been developed by Norwegian scientists that could offer lifesaving benefits for patients with spinal injuries.

The tiny sensor has been developed by the Sintef Group, the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia, which has worked with Sunnaas Hospital to assess the device's potential in measuring pressure in the bladder.

“Scientists in Norway have developed an injectable pressure sensor that could be used to monitor bladder pressure among patients who have suffered spinal injuries.“

Spinal injuries can often damage the nerve supply to the bladder, making it impossible to tell when the bladder is full and needs to be emptied. This creates high pressure within the bladder that can lead to serious kidney damage.

The new sensor can be injected via a thin needle through the skin and into the bladder, measuring how the organ fills and empties in a way that can inform treatment decisions. Currently, it is connected to a thin wire, but the next step would be to make it wireless, allowing its readings to be viewed on a smartphone.

Initial human tests will be carried out in April 2014 on patients with spinal injuries at Sunnaas Hospital.

Ingelin Clausen, who works in the MiNaLab at SINTEF ICT, said: "Our long-term aim is to develop a method of implanting the sensor more permanently, since many patients need measurements to be taken regularly."

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