New devices for remote monitoring of at-risk patients

A new implantable sensor device will allow physicians to monitor patients with brain injuries who are at risk for a build-up of intracranial pressure (ICP), which can cause serious complications or death. Further, patients with the device can be monitored from home.

The telemetric ICP monitoring device consists of a miniature probe attached to a disk-shaped transducer. The probe tip is surgically inserted into the patient's brain and a transducer goes under the patient's scalp, according to Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a division of Wolters Kluwer Health and publisher of the journal Neurosurgery.

To obtain ICP values, the mobile patient holds a battery-powered recording device over the sensor and transducer.

Researchers evaluated the system in ten patients with previous brain surgery who were at risk of increased ICP and found it to be safe and effective for ICP measurement and home monitoring over a long period, according to a study published in Operative Neurosurgery, a supplement to Neurosurgery.

Eight patients continued ICP monitoring at home for up to six months after discharge. In seven out of ten patients, monitoring showed no abnormal increases in ICP and thus no need for further surgery. In the remaining three patients, monitoring showed persistent or recurrent increases in pressure inside the skull. This alerted doctors that further surgery was required to correct the cause of increased ICP.

Because the system is easily managed by patients and families, it may be especially valuable for ICP monitoring in children, the researchers said. "With further study-including comparison with established techniques-the new telemetric system could enable 24-hour monitoring, identifying patients with potentially serious increases in ICP while reducing the need for hospitalization and invasive tests," they added.

Meanwhile, Stratos Product Development LLC and Proteus Biomedical  are working on a personal mobile monitor that could also help doctors treat patients remotely, in HealthTech Zone reports.

"The setup includes an electronic patch worn on the patient's body, combined with medications that transmit information to the sensor, which includes the patient's heart rate and other important health indicators," according to the article.

To learn more:
- get more details about the telemetric ICP monitoring device
- read the Stratos and Proteus announcement
- check out these HealthTech Zone articles on the brain sensor and wireless medical monitor

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