SensorBelt: Cutting-edge textiles and electronics
Swisstom BB2 was especially developed to continuously monitor lung function of ICU patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. To do this, a belt-like disposable textile patient interface, the SensorBelt, is fastened to the patient‘s thorax. Its integrated sensors measure the respiration in different lung regions, constantly converting the generated data into images. The SensorBelt´s core contains 32 miniaturized active electrodes, the EIT-Chips, which all report to and are controlled by the SensorBeltConnector located on the patient´s sternum. The reusable SensorBeltConnector is much more than a simple connector. It acts as Swisstom BB2´s brain using cutting-edge high-tech electronics inside. It sends the measured patient signals directly to the TomographicImageCreation module within the bedside monitor where the EIT images are created and displayed on the graphical user interface.
Swisstom´s disposable single-patient-use SensorBelt respects the essential needs of patients and caregivers alike. The appealing green vest carrying the SensorBelt was designed together with nursing specialists such that it can be applied comfortably to a lying passive patient by one caregiver alone. Due to its highly flexible materials the application procedure, which takes less than one minute, closely resembles that of changing linen. The stretchable minimalistic vest feels like a second skin carrying all marker lines needed for its placement. The skin friendly vest holds the electrical interface in place even when patients are turned, moved or regain activity.
The oblique design makes the SensorBelt follow the movement of the ribs and thus does not restrict breathing as this would be highly undesirable in patients already suffering from respiratory insufficiency. No individual electrodes need to be placed on the patient, instead they are all integrated within the SensorBelt´s soft structure. While the textile silver sensors face the patient´s skin, the 3D spacer cushion underneath them allows the skin to breathe even under maximal compression and yet its adaptive nature ensures electrode coupling also in anatomically problematic areas.
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