In order to monitor blood oxygen levels in sick babies, babies often have to wear a bonding sensor that is hard wired to a relatively large head of the bed, foreign media New Atlas reported. Soon, however, wireless optical sensors could free babies and even allow them to be taken home.
The team, led by Associate Professor Ulkuhan Guler of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, is developing the gadget, which should eventually be about the size of a snap. It measures specifically blood oxygen fractionpressure (PO2). This refers to the tension produced by oxygen dissolved in the blood. The researchers note that using this duke is a more accurate measure of respiratory health than oxygen saturation readings obtained using a finger-clamped pulse oxygen meter.
The soft, stretchable sensordeveloped by the researchers can be attached to the skin and has a film that emits red light. The more oxygen molecules that spread from the blood stream to the skin, the greater the intensity of the light. As a result, the device is able to monitor the baby’s PO2 in real time by continuously monitoring red light levels.
The researchers plan to require the final version of the sensor to be wirelessly powered. In addition, once it is equipped with a chip under development, it will be able to send warnings to apps on doctors and parents’ smartphones when the baby’s blood oxygen levels start to drop. The technology can also be used in adult patients, such as adults with severe asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“Extending hospital stays can increase expensive medical costs and can put pressure on families, ” says Guler. Our goal with this affordable mobile device is to give doctors more flexibility to monitor patients in hospitals and homes. “