UCF, Orlando Health testing medical technology that could help detect blood clots faster

A new device developed in Central Florida could change the future of surgeries, making them safer and preventing excessive blood loss.

"It was very terrifying. I’m an anesthesiologist, so I kind of knew about Tetralogy of Fallot, but I didn’t know the mom side of it all," said Sara Moseman, referring to a rare congenital heart condition that consists of four heart defects.

She found out while pregnant at 24 weeks that her son, Asher – her soon-to-be third child – had a serious birth defect, including a hole in his heart, which would require surgery after he was born.

He had the surgery a little more than four months after he was born.

"It was a hard day waiting those hours in the waiting room and then being able to finally see him was a good feeling," said his father, Jordan Moseman.

Asher's surgery was special in many ways, one of which was that he was part of a research study on a new blood monitoring device that was developed by the University of Central Florida and Orlando Health.

The new technology – a small optical fiber – was designed to track red blood cells and monitor in real-time how thick or thin the blood is so doctors can watch for blood clots and prevent excessive blood loss during surgery.

To check for clots now, doctors have to take a blood sample and send it to a lab for analysis, which can take up to 30 minutes to receive the results.

"In three minutes’ time, serious blood loss can result in brain damage. We can’t wait 30 minutes," said Orlando Health Dr. William DeCampli.

The optical fiber used during Asher's surgery is small – smaller than the back of an earring – and allows doctors to insert the fiber through a catheter or machine without requiring a sample.

"There is no need to take a sample, there is no need to run to the lab to go through a test," said principal investigator and UCF professor Arisitide Dogariu. 

"This is an instrumentation, a technique that I think can solve a major problem both in medicine and in surgery," said Dr. DeCampli.

The setup is inexpensive and easy to put together in an operating room – and could be widely available in the next five to seven years.

As for Asher, he is doing well but will need another surgery sometime in the future. Perhaps, just in time for his surgeon to use the new blood monitor device during that surgery again.

"That this technology could be available five, ten years down the road is reassuring. Anything we can do to further advance medical technology and help kids like this, I think it’s a good thing. I’m proud to be part of something like that," said Moseman.