More than 500,000 U.S. babies are born premature, representing 12.8% of U.S. births annually, a 36% increase since 1980. Among the most common complications associated with premature birth are compromised heart and lung function. Respiratory distress syndrome has been estimated to occur in 20,000-30,000 newborn infants in the U.S. each year. When these infants leave the hospital and go home, they require extra supervision. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old, and claims the lives of about 2,500 in the U.S. each year.
The pediatric virtual medical assistant would consist of a lightweight panel, placed above, below or next to a bed, that emits nonionizing pulses, 20 million times weaker than a cell phone, to provide critical “spot” and “trend” data to a nurse’s station, tablet, cell phone or pager, or to a database such as an electronic medical record. Its built-in management tools could monitor patient status continuously and include alerts for deteriorating heart and respiratory readings. The adult virtual medical assistant has received FDA 510(k) Class II premarket clearance and is in market trials. By applying the existing adult technology to infant heart and respiratory rates, Sensiotec will create a novel, continuous and contact-free infant monitoring system to predict and prevent postnatal cardiac and respiratory morbidity and mortality without the utilization of leads, cuffs, electrodes or other attachments to the body that can cause skin irritation.
This project was funded by APDC. When the project joined the consortium the device was in the concept stage of development.