There is currently no way to measure the drip rate of an IV to ensure an uninterrupted flow of IV-administered anesthetic. Yet, if anesthetic flow is interrupted during total IV anesthesia, then the patient may begin to wake before the anesthesiologist intends.
A University of Utah researcher has developed a scissor-like device which would clamp on to the drip chamber of an IV to alert anesthesiologists if flow is interrupted. A beam emitter and sensor system is used to measure the drip by monitoring when the beam is broken by the drops of fluid. A timer is used to set the maximum time interval between drips and an audible alarm is sounded if the drop sequence is outside the predetermined set duration.