Development and calibration of rectal tonometer for neurological studies

Miguel Osorio, Eniko T. Enikov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Neural tube defects (NTD) are a heterogeneous group of congenital malformations of the central nervous system (CNS) that result from incomplete closure of the neural tube during the developmental stage in the embryo. Consequences vary in severity, ranging from incontinence and chronic back pain to acute paralysis below the deformation and stillbirth. From this constellation of defects, spina bifida, sometimes accompanied with occulta tethered cord (OTC), is the mildest but most prevalent due to going undiagnosed until adulthood when the complex symptoms start to appear. The accuracy of operations to close or decompress the spinal cord after childhood are inconclusive as the damage can be irreparable. In order to treat their onset and avoid further neurological deterioration, methods have been developed to monitor the neurophysiological status of the spinal cord with varying rates of success. Currently, diagnosis of OTC is complex and require invasive urodynamics studies which are difficult to carry out in a pediatric setting. An alternative test based on anorectal tone could offer a simpler and reliable assessment. This paper presents a rectal tonometer to be used in diagnosis of various spinal neuropathies including OTC, CES known as Cauda Equina Syndrome, and NTD. The developed transducer measures external sphincter pressure in real-Time allowing for the detection of voluntary contractions as well as baseline tone. Unlike existing fluid-based anorectal tonometers, the proposed device consists of a hollow flexible cylinder filled with air. Finite element analysis was used to optimize the geometry of the transducer to achieve high axial and low transversal stiffness. An iterative solution was developed to predict the response via a calibration chamber with a maximum pressure rating of 450 PSI. The apparatus was connected to a nitrogen gas tank to provide the pressure and a secondary regulator with bleeder valve was used for decreasing the pressure range to an acceptable value for the pressure sensor specifications. The preliminary calibration test consisted of applying increments of 2 PSI from the nitrogen gas tank to the transducer and record the sensor s steady response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomedical and Biotechnology
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791887622
StatePublished - 2023
EventASME 2023 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2023 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Oct 29 2023Nov 2 2023

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


ConferenceASME 2023 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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