Led by Professor Jukka Lekkala, the Wireless research project is developing miniscule subcutaneous sensors, which can be used to monitor, for example, the function of the heart or prosthetic joints even over long periods of time. The Academy of Finland is funding the project, whose goal is to provide the more accurate prediction of changes in patient condition and, in turn, even save lives. ”For example, a subcutaneous EKG monitor will be able to detect cardiac arrhythmia, and the data for this can then be transmitted wirelessly to the physician’s mobile phone or PC,” explains Lekkala.
At present patient health status is primarily monitored with supercutaneous sensors. However, wearable and, in particular, implantable, or subcutaneous, biosensors will provide significant advantages over more conventional methods. The biggest problem with conventional measuring systems is poor skin sensor contact. In subcutaneous measuring systems the sensor-to-body contact is more stable. Furthermore, external electrical interference of the measurement signal is reduced, which improves the measurement result. Health care costs are saved, when monitoring is not time and place-dependent: patients will no longer have to make an appointment with the physician for a consultation or tests. Patients under remote supervision can continue living their normal lives for a longer period of time.
This new technology also makes possible measurements and long-term monitoring, which would be practically impossible using existing technologies. For example, the condition of a prosthetic hip joint can now only be monitored using expensive x-ray imaging-based methods.
Terhi Loukiainen | alfa
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