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MR Sensor Development for Fluid Status Assessment




HST: Health Sciences and Technology

Faculty Supervisor:

Michael Cima

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Sydney Sherman, shermans@mit.edu

Project Description

Project Overview: Fluid imbalance can mean either hyper- or hypo-volemia, both of which affect cognitive and physical performance. The number of hospitalizations for dehydration has increased steadily in recent decades, reaching 518,000 hospitalizations and $5.5 billion in hospital charges in 2004. Congestion may arise from a variety of underlying conditions including renal failure and congestive heart failure (CHF). Fluid imbalances (e.g. dehydration, congestive heart failure, etc.) are prime examples of conditions preventable from hospitalization if they are diagnosed and managed early. Unfortunately, an individual’s fluid status is difficult to assess and there is no single, universal gold standard to inform decision making. This project appeals to the need for a rapid, accurate, non-invasive, portable, and safe technique to measure hydration state, particularly in an outpatient setting. Such an invention could be used in monitoring and treatment of those with kidney failure, the elderly, CHF patients, athletes, and military personnel, among many other populations. There is no single robust “gold standard” method to determine hydration state. Often, multiple metrics are used in combination to provide a more complete assessment of hydration state. The most widely used metrics include: body mass change, plasma osmolality, % plasma volume change, urine osmolality, urine specific gravity, urine conductivity, urine color, total body water (dilutional), total body water (bioelectric impedance). Though various tools and metrics exist, they are plagued with issues including high variability, being easily confounded, and being indeterminant as a stand-alone measurement. We hypothesize that it is possible to build a noninvasive, portable, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based sensor that is capable of detecting fluid status. Proton NMR is a technique to obtain information about water in a tissue based on T1 and T2 relaxation times. We have shown that proton NMR, where hydrogen functions as a proxy for water, demonstrates relaxometry changes that reflect underlying water volume and distribution changes in animals. We believe that miniaturized NMR sensors are a suitable diagnostic platform for assessing hydration state in patients. Project Tasks: - CAD design of housing for MR sensor magnet array - Design shielded cart for clinical use of the MR sensor - Potential for further involvement in project


Some experience with COMSOL and Matlab