New touchless device to better detect heart problems

New touchless device to better detect heart problems

New touchless device to better detect heart problems

Researchers at a Canadian university have developed a new touchless device for monitoring vital signs that could lead to improved detection and prevention of some cardiovascular issues, as well as greater independence for older adults.

Using patent-pending technology called Coded Hemodynamic Imaging, the device developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo monitors a patient's blood flow at multiple arterial points simultaneously and without direct contact with the skin, a university statement said.

It is ideal for assessing patients with painful burns, highly contagious diseases, or infants in neonatal intensive care whose tiny fingers make traditional monitoring difficult.

"Traditional systems in wide use now take one blood-pulse reading at one spot on the body. This device acts like many virtual sensors that measure blood-flow behaviour on various parts of the body. The device relays measurements from all of these pulse points to a computer for continuous monitoring," said Robert Amelard, a systems design engineer at Waterloo.

"By way of comparison, think of measuring the traffic flow across an entire city rather than through one intersection," said Amelard, who is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Continuous data collection at different parts of the body provides a more complete picture of what's happening in the body.

Whole-body imaging opens doors for advanced monitoring that can't be done with the traditional, single-point methods.

"Since the device can also scan multiple patients individually at once and from a distance, consider the potential in mass emergency scenarios or long-term care homes," said professor Alexander Wong of the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo and Canada Research Chair in Medical Imaging Systems.

"This technology provides for a more predictive approach to monitor vitals and the potential for its use is extensive, such as indicating arterial blockages that might otherwise go undetected, or warning older adults who risk falling as a result of getting dizzy when they stand," Wong said.