Researchers at ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, Russia, have developed a non-invasive high-speed video capillaroscopy system that can precisely measure the velocity of blood cells flowing through capillaries in the skin around a fingernail. The technique could be useful in assessing cardiovascular conditions.
Capillaroscopy systems offer a simple and non-invasive way to assess the size and shape of capillaries or capillary networks, which can reflect the condition of the entire vascular network. Another possibility is measuring the velocity of blood cells in the capillaries, which can provide information on overall blood flow velocity. This information is useful in conditions such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.
“Flow velocity is a primary factor in estimating the condition of any tissue by its blood supply. For instance, in diabetes the circulation speed may alter even though blood vessels generally appear to be normal,” says Nikita Margariants, one of the researchers involved in the study.
Until now, methods to measure blood velocity in capillaries have not been very accurate or reliable. “There are alternative devices that can only give a rough average estimate of blood cell velocity,” says Mikhail Volkov, another researcher involved in the study.
The research team’s solution involves optical equipment, high-speed video capture, and specially designed software. When pressed against the skin beside a finger nail, their device can capture high-speed video of red blood cells flowing through capillaries. Then, the software processes the frame sequence to assess the shape and configuration of the capillaries, along with the distance the red blood cells travel per unit time. The technique allows for very precise velocity measurements.
“Although relatively simple, our device is capable of providing reliable data that can be extremely useful for disease pattern recognition,” says Igor Gurov, lead author on the study. “What is more, such a diagnostic procedure is absolutely painless, safe and comfortable for patients.”
“Our main task now is to use the system to address socially significant diseases. In particular, the system can be an effective tool for studying what happens in blood vessels during coronary heart disease and how drugs affect blood flow recovery,” says Margariants
Study in Optics and Lasers in Engineering: High-speed video capillaroscopy method for imaging and evaluation of moving red blood cells…
Via: ITMO University…