Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) have developed a wireless digital 'plaster' that can monitor vital signs in heart patients continuously and remotely.
Toumaz Technology Ltd's Sensium digital 'plaster' or 'patch' is a disposable device that sticks to a patient's chest.
The digital plaster is based on innovative technology created by engineers at Imperial College London.
It contains a wireless, smart, ultra-low power sensor platform in a silicon chip, which can monitor a range of vital signs like body temperature, heart rate and respiration in real-time.
The device is aimed to help healthcare professionals in downloading information using a mobile phone, enabling them to pick up on any critical changes in their patients' status on a 24-7 basis and allowing early detection and treatment of any unforeseen complications.
The data can also be integrated automatically into the patient's electronic medical record.
The creators of the plaster hope that it will enable some patients to recover from surgery and illness at home rather than in hospital.
It should also mean that hospital in-patients have greater mobility.
In addition, it could allow doctors to extend continuous monitoring of vital signs to a broader range of patients.
The disposable plaster has a working life of several days, after which it can be replaced, ensuring that infection control can be maintained.
"We think the digital plaster could revolutionise healthcare and we're really excited to see it being tried out with patients for the first time. Ultimately, the plaster could mean that doctors can keep track of any worrying changes in patients' vital signs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then deal with any problems that arise really quickly. We think that fewer patients will have medical complications if doctors can spot health problems as soon as they arise and then treat each patient accordingly," said Professor Chris Toumazou, who led the team that developed the plaster.
"We're hoping that the plaster will improve the health and wellbeing of a vast range of patients - from patients on a eneral hospital ward to people with chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease who want to have their health onitored without having to keep visiting the hospital. At the same time, the plaster should free up doctors and nurses' time by llowing them to keep an eye on patients without continuously checking bits of machinery," he added.