It's inefficient to draw periodically blood from patients' neck to assess oxygen levels.
In a effort to develop a better monitoring technique, scientists from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China have developed a portable probe that uses near-infrared light to measure blood oxygen saturation in the tissue surrounding the central internal jugular vein in the neck.
The portable probe allows medicos to monitor a patient's recovery from shock without the hassle of continuously drawing and analyzing blood continuously.
The research was published in The Optical Society's journal, Biomedical Optics Express.
"When I spoke with doctors and patients in hospitals, I had a strong desire to help them with my technologies. The standard method to monitor shock is invasive, discontinuous, and time-consuming," said Ting Li, associate professor, State Key Lab of Electronic Thin Film and Integrated Device, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, in Chengdu.
The researchers used a technique called near-infrared spectroscopy or NIRS to develop their new monitoring device. The diffuse reflectance and absorption of near-infrared light are used in NIRS uses to obtain information about the molecular composition of a sample. It's efficient at measuring hemoglobin levels and has seen widespread use as a screening tool for intracranial bleeding.
The device consists of a probe with two detectors and a triple-LED. Since the gold standard for measuring blood-oxygen levels is oxygen saturation at the central vena cava (a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood into the heart), where a catheter would be attached, they placed the probe on the skin above the internal jugular vein. The scientists used ultrasound to guide the placement of the probe on the skin right over the patients' veins.