Epidermal devices for noninvasive, precise, and continuous mapping of macrovascular and microvascular blood flow

Science Advances  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 9, e1500701
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500701

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Continuous monitoring of variations in blood flow is vital in assessing the status of microvascular and macrovascular beds for a wide range of clinical and research scenarios. Although a variety of techniques exist, most require complete immobilization of the subject, thereby limiting their utility to hospital or clinical settings. Those that can be rendered in wearable formats suffer from limited accuracy, motion artifacts, and other shortcomings that follow from an inability to achieve intimate, noninvasive mechanical linkage of sensors with the surface of the skin. We introduce an ultrathin, soft, skin-conforming sensor technology that offers advanced capabilities in continuous and precise blood flow mapping. Systematic work establishes a set of experimental procedures and theoretical models for quantitative measurements and guidelines in design and operation. Experimental studies on human subjects, including validation with measurements performed using state-of-the-art clinical techniques, demonstrate sensitive and accurate assessment of both macrovascular and microvascular flow under a range of physiological conditions. Refined operational modes eliminate long-term drifts and reduce power consumption, thereby providing steps toward the use of this technology for continuous monitoring during daily activities.

  • Sensor
  • blood flow
  • skin
  • Flexible electronics
  • stretchable
  • circulation
  • wearable electronics
  • thermal transport

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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