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Initial Trials of Wireless GERD Sensor are Successful

October 9, 2007

A series of three animal trials conducted by a University of Texas at Arlington doctoral student has confirmed the practicality of a wireless sensor to monitor gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The trials are another step in perfecting the device for eventual use in humans.

Electrical Engineering student Thermpon Ativanichayaphong, who designed and fabricated the test device, conducted the trials at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW). He was assisted by Shou Jiang Tang, M.D., an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at UTSW and Director of Endoscopy at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and H. F. Tibbals, Ph.D., Director of the Bioinstrumentation Resource Center at UTSW.

The three, along with UT Arlington Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering J.-C. Chiao, have been developing the wireless GERD sensor for about two years. Their device, an RFID-enabled sensor attached to the esophagus wall, should revolutionize the monitoring and evaluation of acid reflux patients.

Current tests for GERD require a wired sensor that runs through the patient's nostril and into the esophagus. The wires are attached externally to a recording devise, an uncomfortable procedure that makes it very difficult for a patient to eat and behave normally, which is required for accurate testing.

Mr. Ativanichayaphong and Dr. Chiao will now concentrate on packaging the sensors and wireless transmitter into a flexible substrate to provide for an easier and more comfortable placement of the device.