Colorimetric fiber optic sensors have been developed for measuring the pH and pCO2 of blood. These sensors are fabricated using a single 125 micrometers diameter optical fiber. Located at the distal end of the fiber is a capsule that contains a pH sensitive dye. The pCO2 sensor is fabricated from a pH sensor with the addition of a salt, bicarbonate, and the encapsulation with an ion impermeable gas permeable membrane. The distal end of the capsule is terminated with a reflective surface. The reflective surface can either be a polished metallic surface or, in this case, a TiO2 impregnated epoxy. The disposable sensor mates with an optical connector that contains two optical fibers of the same size as the disposable sensor. The two fibers within the optical cable provide a light path for both the antegrade and retrograde optical signals. These fibers are terminated at either the LED source or the detector. A prototype sensor assembly that incorporates the measurement of three physiological parameters (pH, pCO2, and sO2) has been demonstrated to fit within a standard 20 gauge arterial catheter, typically used for radial artery blood pressure monitoring, without significant damping of the blood pressure waveform. The pH sensor has a range of 6.9 - 7.8 with a precision of 0.01 pH units and the pCO2 sensor has a range of 15 - 95 mm Hg with a precision of 3 mm Hg. The long term drift pH drift is less than 0.01 pH unit per 8 hours and the pCO2 drift is less than 1 mm Hg per 8 hours. Sensor performance in the canine has demonstrated that the pH sensor is accurate to within +/- 0.03 pH units and the pCO2 sensor is accurate to within +/- 3 mm Hg when compared to a typical blood gas analyzer.
Keith J. Proctor,
George P. Seifert,
"Colorimetric blood-gas monitoring sensors", Proc. SPIE 1886, Fiber Optic Sensors in Medical Diagnostics, (21 May 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.144825; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.144825