A miniaturized piezoresistive flow sensor for real‐time monitoring of intravenous infusion



intravenous infusion
liquid crystal polymer
piezoresistive flow sensor


Drug overdose (DO) is considered one of the current issues of intravenous (IV) infusion particularly resulting in serious injuries and deaths. Malfunction of infusion pumps is reported as the main cause of the drug overdose. Live monitoring and flow rate calculation by health professionals have been practicing to avoid DO. However, human errors and miscalculations are inevitable. A secondary measurement tool is required to avoid the risk of OD when infusion pump malfunctions cannot be detected immediately. Here, inspired by nature, we developed a real‐time monitoring device through which an administrator can review, evaluate, and modify the IV infusion process. Our flow sensor possesses an erected polymer hair cell on a multi‐layered silicon base forming from a patterned gold strained gauge layer on a piezoresistive liquid crystal polymer (LCP) membrane. Gold strain gauges on an LCP membrane have been used instead of a piezoresistive silicon membrane as the sensing element. The combination of gold strain gauges and LCP membrane provides better sensitivity than a piezoresistive silicon membrane of the same dimensions and thickness. We also miniaturized our biocompatible sensor such that it can be possible to install it inside the IV tube in contact with the liquid providing an in‐suite online flow monitoring. The proposed LCP membrane sensor is compared with two commercially available IV sensors to validate its flow sensing ability. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed sensor provides a low threshold detection limit of 5 mL/hr, which betters the performance of other commercial sensors at low flow rates.

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