Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999 Blood Pressure and Pulse Detection

Blood pressure ranges from 0.1-0.2 atm in the arteries to as low as 0.005 atm in the veins. The systolic/diastolic differential ranges from 0.05-0.07 atm in the aorta and 0.01-0.02 atm in the pulmonary artery, falling to 0.001-0.003 atm in the microvessels, or 0.003-0.005 atm if the precapillary sphincter is dilated.361,363 In venous vessels, pulse fluctuations are 0.002-0.010 atm in the superior vena cava, 0.004-0.006 atm in the subclavian vein, ~0.004 atm in venules generally, and ~0.0005 atm in the brachial vein.361 There is also a ~0.05 Hz random fluctuation in the microvessels with amplitude on the order of 0.004-0.007 atm.363 Both blood pressure and pulse rate can be reliably monitored by a medical nanodevice virtually anywhere in the vascular system using a (68 nm)3 pressure sensor with ~0.001 atm sensitivity (Section 4.5.1). (See also Section 8.4.2.)

Pulse propagation through body tissue is somewhat muted due to absorption in compressible fatty membranes, but most cells lie within 1-3 cell-widths of a capillary so the cardiac acoustic signal should still be measurable using more sensitive detectors. The time-averaged interstitial pressure in subcutaneous tissue is 0.001-0.004 atm.363

Arterial pulse waves (vascular oscillations) carry subtle messages about the health of internal organs and the arterial tree. The idea of using pulse waves for diagnosis has a long history dating back 2000 years in China. For example, in the Book on Pulse Waves by Wang Shu-He (201-285 AD), waves detected by manual probing are classified using such subjective and qualitative descriptors as floating, deep, hidden, rapid, slow, moderate, feeble, replete, full, thready, faint, weak, soft, slippery, hesitant, hollow, firm, long, short, swift, running, intermittent, uneven, taut, string-tight, gigantic, or tremulous.361 Abnormal waves were empirically related to disease states. Wave data gathered by nanodevices could make possible a theoretically sound, quantitative system of noninvasive observation, classification, and diagnosis as a supplement to other nanomedical tools.


Last updated on 17 February 2003