This paper presents an ultraminiature fibre optic probe capable of physiological monitoring in situ. The system has been described previously where a fibre optic reflectometer was configured as a temperature sensor and as a refractometer. For the present experiments a bare fibre tip was used as sensing element. We show that we have been able to monitor cyclic physiological parameters such as heart and respiratory rates in various animal preparations. The probe has been used to obtain signals from the oesophagus, the lower gastro-intestinal tract, the abdominal cavity and from blood vessels (arteries and veins). The probe has also measured phasic activity coincident with mechanical activity of isolated heart muscle. The small physical size of the sensor (125 µm diameter), its flexibility and the fact that it is biologically inert are all very important characteristics for medical and biological considerations. Most recently, the probe has been used to monitor cardiac and respiratory rates while obtaining NMR spectra assessing metabolic activity. This was possible only because the probe is magnetically transparent.
J. P. Legendre,
G. V. Forester,
"A Fibre Optic Sensor Of Physiological Parameters", Proc. SPIE 0661, Optical Testing and Metrology, (25 November 1986); doi: 10.1117/12.938616; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.938616