Fiber optic manometry catheters for in vivo monitoring of peristalsis in the human gut
The human body presents some unique challenges for sensors. The sensing volume is not large, and the point of interest is never more than a few centimeters away from the "outside world"; however, many regions of the body have stubbornly resisted attempts at detailed measurement without simultaneously perturbing the self-same systems and processes under investigation. Catheters are currently being used in a number of ongoing clinical studies to record muscular activity in the human colon. The manometry catheter was fed into the colon via the rectum using a colonoscope with the subjects under light sedation. The unique properties of optical fiber lend themselves particularly well to monitoring inside the human body. The small size and extreme flexibility of the fiber enables intubation deep into the complex and convoluted regions of the gastrointestinal tract below the stomach. Using wavelength division multiplexing techniques to allowed people to gather data at an unprecedented spatial resolution that is providing new insights into the nature.