Magnetometry for Early Detection of Intestinal Ischemia

Period of Performance: 06/15/1998 - 05/31/2001


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tristan Technologies, Inc.
San Diego, CA 92121
Principal Investigator


Intestinal Ischemia is difficult to diagnose and is usually fatal. When signs of peritonitis, acidosis, and shock appear, survival is rare. The mortality rate of bowel infarction remains at about 90% despite surgical and supportive care improvements. Reducing this rate requires early and accurate diagnosis, preferably by a simple, non-invasive procedure usable in the ER. Recent animal studies show that the intestinal tract is highly sensitive to blood supply. Changes in magnetic activity that result from ischemia are large and happen within minutes. During Phase I, we developed and used a novel, high-sensitivity super-conducting vector magnotometer to demonstrate the feasibility of measuring biomagnetic signals from human intestines. We developed algorithms that "focus" the magnetometer on selected regions and attenuates noise from other parts of the body and the environment. In Phase Il, we will further develop the instrument and the measurement protocols necessary to turn this into a clinically useful technique. We will produce a complete system suitable for clinical research and install it at Vanderbilt to study normals and patients with mesenteric ischemia and ischemia colitis. We believe this technique will eventually provide a rapid diagnosis of intestinal ischemia and other disorders that affect the biomagnetic signal. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: This instrument could potentially be used in every hospital emergency room to rapidly diagnose or rule out the possibility of Intestinal Ischemia.