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Towards minimally invasive monitoring for gastroenterology -An external Squamocolumnar Junction Locator

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  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine


Transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations (TLOSRs) occur frequently and are the main mechanism of acid reflux. The only means of currently detecting TLOSRs is intra-luminal manometry and the probes themselves may stimulate TLOSRs. The squamo-columnar junction moves 4-5 centimeters proximally during TLOSRs and this provides a means of detecting such episodes. The objective of this work is to develop a sensor system capable of detecting the movement of a miniature magnet attached to the squamo-columnar junction from outside the body and thus allow detection of TLOSRs without the artifact associated with intraluminal detection probes. A GaAs Hall effect sensor was selected and an alternating current supply was developed with a combination of filters and a Phase Sensitive Detector, to detect the magnet. The oscillation frequency of the current was chosen in order to reduce electronic noise, and filtering outside this frequency means the signal to noise ratio was greatly improved. The phase sensitive detector was employed to accurately convert the amplitude of the sensor's output to a DC signal. With the addition of paired Flux Concentrators increases the range up to 10.2 centimetres, an improvement of 580% over commercial Hall effect sensors. The AC circuit and flux concentrator device far exceeds the sensitivity of the current Hall effect sensors supplied in the market, by rejecting noise and providing accurate measurement over significantly larger distances. The development of this sensor has applications beyond this specific medical device.

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