A tiny fibre-optic sensor has the potential to save lives in open heart surgery, and even during surgery on pre-term babies. The new micro-medical device could surpass traditional methods used to monitor blood flow through the aorta during prolonged and often dangerous intensive care and surgical procedures — even in the tiniest of patients. The continuous cardiac flow monitoring probe, under development at Flinders University, is a safe way to give a real-time measurement of blood flow. “The minimally invasive device is suitable for neonates right through to adults,” says research leader Strategic Professor John Arkwright, an expert in using fibre-optic technologies in medical diagnostics. Professor Arkwright says the device has the potential to be a game-changer — particularly for very young babies, which are particularly susceptible to sudden drops in blood pressure and oxygen delivery to their vital organs. “It’s a far more responsive measurement compared to traditional blood flow monitoring — and without life-threatening delays in the period ‘snapshot’ provided by current blood flow practices using ultrasound or thermo-d...