Medical Devices and Healthcare IT

Watch: Wearable sensor to aid patients with swallowing disorders

18 December 2019

The treatment of dysphagia — difficulty swallowing — typically entails frequent visits to clinics, which may not be feasible for patients in rural areas or those with limited mobility. A skin-worn sensor patch engineered at Purdue A skin-worn sensor patch enables patients to be remotely monitored at home and improve compliance with rehabilitation protocols. Source: Jared Pike/Purdue UniversityA skin-worn sensor patch enables patients to be remotely monitored at home and improve compliance with rehabilitation protocols. Source: Jared Pike/Purdue UniversityUniversity can enable patients to be remotely monitored at home and improve compliance with rehabilitation protocols.

The inexpensive, disposable device adheres to the user’s neck area and uses embedded electrodes to measure muscle movement during swallowing. The soft elastomer-encased sensor, composed of a flexible polyimide sheet coated with a copper film, also incorporates a strain gauge on each side. Recorded data are wirelessly transmitted from a unit clipped on the wearer's shirt to a cloud-based server for remote assessment in real time by a clinician.

Pilot tests demonstrated the feasibility of the remote monitoring approach and generated results comparable to those collected using standard clinical sensor systems. The bandage-like sensor system can allow dysphagia patients to practice their restorative exercises at home while being monitored, minimizing the need for repeat clinical visits. The researchers established Curasis LLC to commercialize the technology described in Science Advances and are now conducting clinical trials.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com


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