ORLANDO, Florida. – A new device developed in central Florida could change the future of surgeries, make them safer and prevent excessive blood loss.
“It was very terrifying. I’m an anesthesiologist, so I kind of knew about tetralogy of Fallot, but I didn’t know the mom side of it all,” Sara Moseman said, referring to a rare congenital heart condition that involves into four heart defects.
She discovered while pregnant at 24 weeks that her son, Asher – her future third child – had a serious birth defect, including a hole in his heart, which would require surgery after he was born.
He was operated on just over four months after his birth.
“It was a tough day waiting those hours in the waiting room and finally being able to see him was a good feeling,” said his father, Jordan Moseman.
Asher’s surgery was special in many ways, one of which was that he was part of a research study on a new blood monitoring device that was developed by the University of Central Florida and Orlando Health. .
The new technology – a small optical fiber – was designed to track red blood cells and monitor blood thickness or fluidity in real time so doctors can monitor blood clots and prevent excessive blood loss during surgery.
To check for clots now, doctors must take a blood sample and send it to a lab for analysis, which can take up to 30 minutes to receive the results.
“In three minutes, severe blood loss can lead to brain damage. We can’t wait 30 minutes,” said Dr. William DeCampli of Orlando Health.
The fiber optic used in Asher’s surgery is small — smaller than the back of an earring — and allows doctors to insert the fiber through a catheter or machine without the need for a sample.
“You don’t have to take a sample, you don’t have to run to the lab to get tested,” said lead researcher and UCF professor Arisitide Dogariu.
“It’s an instrumentation, a technique that I think can solve a major problem in both medicine and surgery,” Dr. DeCampli said.
The setup is inexpensive and easy to set up in an operating room – and could be widely available within the next five to seven years.
As for Asher, he is fine but will need further surgery in the future. Maybe just in time for her surgeon to use the new blood monitoring device again during this operation.
“The fact that this technology may be available in five or ten years is reassuring. Anything we can do to advance medical technology and help children like this, I think is a good thing. I am proud to be a part of something like this,” Moseman said.