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Development of the Passive Perfusion Probe for Non-Invasive Blood Perfusion Measurement
A non-invasive blood perfusion system has been developed and tested in a phantom tissue and an animal model. The system uses a small sensor with a laminated flat thermocouple to measure the heat transfer response to an arbitrary thermal event (convective or conductive) imposed on the tissue surface. Blood perfusion and contact resistance are estimated by comparing heat flux data with a mathematical model of the tissue. The perfusion system was evaluated for repeatability and sensitivity using both a phantom tissue test stand and exposed rat liver tests. Perfusion in the phantom tissue tests was varied by controlling the flow of water into the phantom tissue test section, and the perfusion in the exposed liver tests was varied by temporarily occluding blood flow through the portal vein. The phantom tissue tests indicated that the probe can be used to detect small changes in perfusion (0.009 ml/ml/s). The probe qualitatively tracked the changes in the perfusion of the liver model due to occlusion of the portal vein.