In the human body, the circulatory system plays a key role in its maintenance and daily function. This circulatory system is responsible for numerous functions, including the transportation of nutrients, repository gasses and metabolic products across the body. In addition to transporting important metabolic materials throughout the system, the circulation process also facilitates the return of by-products to the environment. These functions are all made possible through a network of vessels which serve to transport these materials and products.
This system is continuously running and its primary function seems to be maintaining a constant condition within each body. Integral to the circulation process is the fluid which carries the minerals and products around the body. This circulation fluid is blood which travels through these blood vessels carrying materials through the body. The organ which offers blood its movement and pumps it throughout the body is the heart. With such an important bodily function, carrying blood and nourishing the body and organs, scientist have taken a particular interest in identifying a way to monitor this process.
American-based institute, the University of Michigan, recently unveiled their discovery of a new technique which enables the exploration and monitoring of these circulatory connections. The University of Michigan was founded in 1817 as one of the first public universities in the nation. Since then, the institute has focused on a variety of specialist areas, including medical education and research. The University of Michigan recently published results from a field of medical research relating to cardiovascular functions.
This publication indicated scientists at the University of Michigan recently discovered a new technique to monitor the health of this important function. This new process involves using a miniature camera, with a laser equipped, to travel throughout the human body and capture high-resolution footage of the internal organs. This miniature laser-equipped camera is deployed directly into the blood vessels. From here the scientists are able to inspect the surface of the vessel and use this information to identify any potential challenges and observe the health of the circulatory system.
The technology behind this new discovery was called the scanning fibre endoscope, or SFE. The scanning fibre endoscope is a miniature instrument which, when equipped to a camera, facilitates the capture of high-quality images of the internal organs and surrounding regions. At this stage in the research project, SFE is currently a proof of concept consisting of a single optical fibre. This single optic fibre scans the internal organs and illuminates tissue with either a red, blue or green laser beam.
This illuminated area is then captured and digitally reconstructed to produce an image with a large field of view. The image produced allows medical professionals to receive and inspect a detailed look of the internal organs, which may lead to a more accurate diagnosis when inspecting the health of the circulatory system. The advantage of this discovery might mean an earlier diagnosis or a more thorough inspection of one’s cardiovascular health. Through providing doctors with the tools to closely inspect the health of one’s internal organs, with a high degree of detail, the application of this device may result in a higher success rate when monitoring the health of the human body. This discovery may ensure an optimum level of cardiovascular health in patients and inspections leading to improved technology for those requiring a detailed inspection of their circulatory system.
How might this new technology improve doctors’ ability to diagnose and treat cardiovascular challenges?