In-vivo sensors yield valuable medical information by measuring directly on the living tissue of a patient. These devices can be surface or implant devices. Electrical activity in the body, from organs or muscles can be measured using surface electrodes. For short term internal devices, catheters are used. These include cardiac catheter (in blood vessels) and bladder catheters. Due to the size and shape of the catheters, silicon devices provided an excellent solution for sensors. Since many cardiac catheters are disposable, the high volume has led to lower prices of the silicon sensors. Many catheters use a single sensor, but silicon offers the opportunity to have multi sensors in a single catheter, while maintaining small size. The cardiac catheter is usually inserted for a maximum of 72 h. Some devices may be used for a short-to-medium period to monitor parameters after an operation or injury (1–4 weeks). Increasingly, sensing, and actuating, devices are being applied to longer term implants for monitoring a range of parameters for chronic conditions. Devices for longer term implantation presented additional challenges due to the harshness of the environment and the stricter regulations for biocompatibility and safety. This paper will examine the three main areas of application for in-vivo devices: surface devices and short/medium-term and long-term implants. The issues of biocompatibility and safety will be discussed.
- In-vivo devices
- Medical sensors