Nanotorr, a Novel Sensor of Compartment Syndrome


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, annually in the United States, approximately 4 million emergency department visits can be attributed to motor vehicle accidents, 2 million to overexertion, 4 million to contusion, and 1.8 million to lower extremity injuries. A serious complication of these traumas is CS, or elevated pressure in muscle tissue. CS decreases blood supply to muscles and results in tissue death and irreversible damage.

Without rapid diagnosis, Compartment Syndrome (CS), or elevated tissue pressure in muscle, can cause irreversible muscle damage within hours. Current catheter-based methods to detect CS require multiple measurements that are invasive and prone to error. The Nanotorr™ overcomes these limitations and has significant potential to become the new standard method for detecting CS to prevent muscle damage.

Invention Summary

Researchers developed the NanoTorr, a nanotechnology-based sensor that uses silver nano-particles and fiber optics to measure compartment pressure in muscle tissue. The NanoTorr rapidly and accurately measures a broad range of tissue pressures at multiple sites in real time.


  • Unlike current methods, the NanoTorr enables healthcare providers to rapidly and easily detect CS
  • Minimally-invasive design will improve outcomes and shorten patient recovery time
  • Design will reduce manufacturing costs and increase profit margin
  • Disposable design will promote widespread use in healthcare

Application Fields

  • Emergency rooms: to rapidly detect CS resulting from vehicular crashes or blunt trauma
  • Occupational healthcare: to detect CS caused by overexertion, minimizing employee sick leave
  • Sports medicine: to detect CS caused by blunt trauma, injury or overexertion


  • This prototype has been studied in a rat model
  • Issued Patent 20100185121: Small-Scale Pressure Sensors


David L. Carroll
Faith M. Coldren
Nicole H. Levi
Lawrence X. Webb
William D. Wagner
Thomas L. Smith
Brian Werner
J. Baxter Mcguirt
Manoj Namboothiry

Licensing Contact

Charlie Shaw, PhD
Commercialization Associate

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