Predictive Technology

Kouhyar Tavakolian, assistant professor of electrical engineering, and co-director of the Biomedical Engineering Research Complex

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Kouhyar Tavakoulian knows how dangerous hemorrhages are, and he’s working on technology that will help physicians in the future to track major blood vessels that might fail and rupture.

Hemorrhages, any profuse external or internal bleeding, are usually difficult to predict. A sudden hemorrhage of a major blood vessel, for example, during or right after childbirth, or bleeding as a result of battlefield wounds, can be fatal.

“Post-partum hemorrhaging is the No. 1 killer related to childbirth,” said Tavakolian. “It’s a big problem, especially in developing countries.”

As a Ph.D. student at Simon Fraser University in Canada, Tavakolian was working on another diagnostic technology called seismocardiography: the science of closely tracking the heart’s mechanical signals. While building and refining an improved heart-signal-sensing technology, he theorized that similar technology could be used to predict hemorrhages.

“The idea we’re developing here,” he said, “is a medical device that you can wear that would include a sensor on your chest and sensor on your finger that would detect mild drops in blood pressure or other cardiac signals that predict the potential for a severe hemorrhage.”

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