Cork researchers develop device to help detect heart failure

Cork researchers develop device to help detect heart failure
Tyndall’s Professor Peter O’Brien

RESEARCHERS at Tyndall National Institute in Cork have developed a device for the early stage detection of heart failure.

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in Ireland, and the new Tyndall device could save lives through its early detection of heart failure.

The device is a compact handheld instrument that enables patient monitoring to be performed in a doctor’s surgery for a faster diagnosis, avoiding the requirement of a hospital stay for testing.

Using nano-scale silicon photonic microchips, the device uses laser technology to rapidly scan the characteristics of a patient’s blood flow using a technique called doppler vibrometery.

The device can accurately measure arterial stiffness and other indicators that will alert doctors to cardio stenosis (hardening of the arteries) to provide an early warning for cardiovascular disease.

Tyndall’s Professor Peter O’Brien said: “We are developing a number of highly advanced biophotonic devices for clinical diagnostics and minimally invasive surgical and imaging applications.

“Our ability to design, integrate and develop fully working research prototypes using ultra-precision assembly and packaging equipment places us in a unique position to develop breakthrough biophotonic modules which are compact and highly sensitive.”

Photonics involves the generation, control and detection of light.

It impacts our lives in many areas, including high-speed fibre optic communications, sensors, the control of self-driving cars and emerging mass markets in the internet of things.

The need for photonics is driven by the fact that the speed and usage of our day to day technology is almost at capacity, whereas photonics will address mass market requirements in communications, healthcare and security.

The value of the photonics market is expected to be worth more than €615 billion by 2020.

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