To determine organ health physicians traditionally measure oxygen content in the blood. However, this says nothing about how oxygen is absorbed and used in the organ’s tissue cells. Through a new photonics based sensor technology, oxygen can now be directly measured inside tissue cells.
Doctors need detailed information about oxygen supply in tissue cells in order to make adequate decisions about blood transfusion and treatment of intensive care patients.
Using a skin sensor with embedded photonics technology the new measurement system (called COMET) non-invasively measures oxygen in human skin cells. And it does so in real time and only in the mitochondria of active cells. Skin is an early warning sensor to give physicians time to act before damage occurs.
The technique was developed by anesthesiologist Dr. Egbert Mik from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It is the first practical way to clinically measure oxygen availability and consumption where oxygen is needed: in the tissue cells rather than in the blood.
For more information about photonics Health Care applications, please see the program
of the Photonics Applications Week.