Method and apparatus to measure blood flow rate in hemodialysis shunts

Patent No. 6,153,109

Issued: November 28, 2000

Inventor: Nikolai Krivitski, Ithaca, NY

Assignee: Transonic Systems, Inc., Ithaca, NY

 A device for determining shunt flow in a hemodialysis shunt connected between two points in a cardiovascular-hemodialysis system includes a flow sensor connected to either the hemodialysis inflow (arterial) line or the outflow (venous) line. An indicator is preferably introduced into the system that is sensed by first and second sensors that are spaced apart and disposed effective for sensing the indicator at two locations in the cardiovascular-hemodialysis system. Natural indicators produced by the body, such as density variations in the blood caused by rhythmic breathing, are optionally used instead of an introduced indicator. A detector connected to the flow sensor and the first and second sensors determines, at a first flow rate, a first time a first indicator takes to move between the two locations, and at a second flow rate, a second time a second indicator takes to move between the two locations. The shunt flow is then calculated from the first and second times and the first and second flow rates.

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