A Survey of Medical Device Technology

Biomedical Device Technology: Principles and Design, 2nd Ed.

By Anthony Y.K. Chan, CC Thomas Publisher, 2016. ISBN 978-0-398- 09083-8, viii + 748 pages, US$85.95.

According to the preface, this text is “written for engineers and technologists who are interested in understanding the principles, design, and applications of medical device technology.” It is also “intended to be used as a textbook or reference for biomedical device technology courses in universities and colleges” (Preface, p. vii). This reviewer agrees with the first statement but suggests some improvements to satisfy the second.

This text consists of four parts: “Introduction,” “Biomedical Transducers,” “Fundamental Building Blocks of Medical Instrumentation,” and “Medical Devices.” Each chapter begins with a list of chapter “objectives,” an index of its content (here, as opposed to on the table of contents at the opening of the text), and introductory and/or history material; then comes the basic content of the chapter with examples, followed, where appropriate, with a discussion of “common problems and hazards”; and chapters conclude with a bibliography (note: no references). Appendix material consists of a primer on Fourier analysis, an overview of medical telemetry development, and a brief section on medical gas supply systems.

Part I of the text, “Introduction,” consists of two chapters. Chapter 1 gives an overview of biomedical instrumentation, starting with the International Electrotechnical Commission, U.S. Food and Drug Adminsitration, and Canadian definitions and risk classifications for medical devices; moving on to the topics of biomedical signals and transduction; then ending with a survey of the essential building blocks of medical instrumentation. Chapter Two provides an overview of signal measurement, processing, and analysis, including comments on data filtering, linear versus nonlinear characteristics, and signal filtering for analysis.

Part II, “Biomedical Transducers,” gives an eight-chapter survey of the transduction of pressure and force, temperature, position and motion, flow, medical optics, electrochemical measurements, and biopotential electrode signals. Much of the material is reminiscent of introductory physics and chemistry texts. Each chapter is well written regarding basic coverage, and a reasonable number of examples are included in the body of the text.

Part III now covers, in three chapters, the “building blocks of medical instrumentation.” Biopotential amplifiers are discussed in 25 pages; seven examples are included, but only four entries may be found in the bibliography, the most recent from 2000. The topic of electrical safety and signal isolation is next, with 21 pages, seven examples, and five entries. Medical waveform display systems are covered in 25 pages, with three examples and five bibliography entries.

Part IV consists of 25 chapters on various medical devices. It comprises approximately two-thirds of the text, and for the student with no prior exposure to medical equipment, it is the most valuable part of this book. Here, each of the 25 categories of devices is overviewed and analyzed as to usage and problems and hazards, as necessary. An initial chapter on physiological monitoring systems, for example, nicely overviews the general concepts of monitoring as well as the network topology needed in computerized monitoring systems. Several chapters cover what is standard fare in most textbooks, such as EEG, EMG, blood-pressure measurements, cardiac output, pulmonary function analyzers, ventilators, pacemakers, and ultrasound flowmeters. Of special interest to instructors is the breadth of coverage in areas not usually seen, such as cardiopulmonary bypass systems, audiology equipment, infusion devices, anesthesia machines, endoscopes, fetal monitors, infant incubators, pulse oximeters, dialysis machines, surgical lasers, etc. As mentioned previously, a primer on Fourier analysis, an overview of medical telemetry, and an outline of medical gas supply systems comprise the text’s three very short appendixes.

Good points: this text has broad coverage of medical devices and the basics of information acquisition. Diagramming (block diagrams, etc.) is reasonably done. Adequate examples are presented in most chapters. Most chapters have a reasonable bibliography.

Drawbacks: if this text were to be used in a biomedical engineering instrumentation course, the instructor(s) would need to develop a separate set of homework exercises for each chapter. Referencing is totally missing from this text; it would be useful to know the sources of the figures and some of the comments in the text (for example, “one manufacturer claimed,” page 557; the use of laser guns, page 619; incorrect anatomy, page 517; etc.). It would be useful also if the author could add information about potentials for improvements for each device and technology. Coverage of maintenance and legal issues would be of value, as well.

— By Paul H King, Ph.D., P.E. Vanderbilt University