Tor Inge Tonnessen, MD, PhD, Head of the Division of Anesthesiology at the University of Oslo in Norway, gave a lecture entitled “Novel Biosensors for Real Time Intra-Organ Detection of Ischemia and Rejection” on Thursday, September 17th. Dr. Tonnessen is a distinguished alumnus of the Multidisciplinary Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. After completing his PhD on the determinants of intracellular pH at the University of Oslo, he came to our Department as a clinical fellow, then worked in research with Bob Schilchtig at the VA Hospital to study modeling metabolic acidosis. He returned to Oslo where he rose to become the head of their ICU. He developed a novel way to measure tissue CO2 which formed the basis for the studies he presented at Grand Rounds and with which we will work together to create a strengthened research collaboration over the next few years.
Dr. Tonnessen detailed his research and development of an elegantly simple implantable sensor that allows monitoring of tissue CO2. His research group has documented close correlation of tissue CO2 with local blood flow, and has found that elevations of tissue CO2 actually precede elevated tissue lactate. Early experiments with the device have demonstrated it’s ability to accurately identify ischemia in transplanted tissue before there are clinical signs of graft failure or changes in blood lactate levels. The monitoring device holds particular promise in the monitoring of blood flow to transplanted organs in the immediate post-transplant period.