A new medical technology based on a textile raw material has been created by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Germany as part of the Pneumo.Vest project.
Pneumo.Vest, the new textile product, it is a vest containing integrated acoustic sensors that help to continuously monitor the lung function of patients suffering from serious respiratory or pulmonary disorders.
Piezoceramic acoustic sensors integrated and fixed inside the vest at the front and back, aimed at detecting and recording noises in the lungs. These signals are converted and visibly displayed using software that electronically amplifies them and visually represents them on a monitor. The software can pinpoint the location of the data because it knows the exact location of each individual sensor. This generates a precise optical image of the ventilation status of each lung segment.
An additional advantage of the Pneumo.Vest, consists in the collection and storage of the data permanently, which allows the programming of the examinations at any time and even in the absence of the hospital staff.
« Our technology provides added value because it allows for the lungs to be monitored continuously in the same way as a long-term ECG (Electro Cardio Graphy), even if the patient is not attached to machines in the ICU but has instead been admitted to the general ward » said Ralf Schallert, project manager at Fraunhofer IKTS.
This new device aims to expand diagnostic options and improve the quality of life of patients. Pneumo.Vest also provides continuous monitoring of patients outside intensive care units (ICU).
« Pneumo.Vest is exactly what we need. It serves as an instrument that expands our diagnostic options, relieves the burden on our hospital staff and makes hospital stays more pleasant for patients » said Dr. Alexander Uhrig, specialist in infectiology and pulmonology at the Charity.
Although the new technology was initially intended for respiratory patients, it is also effective when used in sleep research centers and by residents of care homes. Additionally, it can be used to teach medical students’ auscultation.