Heart Monitor Smaller Than A Postage Stamp


LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Doctors can manually take your pulse and use other technology to measure the rhythm of your heart. Now a cutting-edge monitor that’s smaller and thinner than a postage stamp is about to give doctors another option for monitoring your heart health.

A strong steady heartbeat is one sign of good health. But an electrocardiogram, or EKG, requires patches and wires to produce a reading. Scientists at Purdue University have developed a wearable triboelectric nanogenerator, or TENG, a tiny monitor made out of polyvinyl alcohol. It looks and feels like a small square of flexible plastic.

“We can easily attach it on to any part of the body because the material itself is very soft. It’s also very thin. It’s just like the tissue from your top skin,” explained Wenzhuo Wu, PhD, Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star assistant professor from the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University.

(Read Full Interview)

When the TENG is placed at a pulse point like the wrist, it can pick up and transmit cardiovascular information, like this … think of it like a doctor taking your pulse.

“We use the finger to feel the vibration. We use the device to measure, precisely, the vibration and we analyze the data,” illustrated Wu.

Professor Wu says the monitor may help doctors detect common cardiovascular diseases, like coronary artery disease and ischemic heart disease.

The monitor also uses static electricity to self-power, meaning it does not need a battery or electrical charge to operate. Professor Wu says his team has filed a patent for commercial development.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4789

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular health is typically measured by a number of devices. An echocardiogram also called an echo, uses an ultrasound to show how a patient’s heart muscles and valves are working. An EKG also called an electrocardiogram, determines heart rate, heart rhythm, and other cardiac information that can help diagnose arrhythmias, heart attacks, pacemaker function, and heart failure. Or a simple listen by a physician through a stethoscope to determine heart rhythm, heart rate, and general cardiac function. “These technologies can often be invasive to patients and have not yet been adapted into wearables for personalized on-demand monitoring,” Wenzhuo Wu of Purdue University said.

(Sources: https://www.practicalclinicalskills.com/what-is-an-ekg#:~:text=An%20EKG%20is%20a%20paper,information%20regarding%20the%20heart’s%20condition, https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/diagnosing-echocardiogram#1)

CURRENT TECHNOLOGY: Wearable heart monitors already exist in a consumer fashion. These are things like smartwatches, fit bits, pulse oximeters, and so on. While these are convenient and practical for casual use, there is still a need for greater accuracy in order to apply them in the medical field. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently considers wrist-worn heart rate monitors as low risk devices, obviating legal requirements for approval and regulation. However even with the low accuracy rates, clinicians acknowledge the data derived from these devices is going to play an increasingly important role in the future of healthcare.

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603497/)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Now, a team at Purdue University has developed a self-powered, wearable, triboelectric nanogenerator, also called TENG with polyvinyl alcohol-based contact layers, designed for monitoring cardiovascular health. Wenzhuo Wu of Purdue University said, “TENGs with PVA blend contact layers produce fast readout with distinct peaks for blood ejection, blood reflection in the lower body, and blood rejection from the closed aortic valve, which may enable detection of common cardiovascular diseases such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and ischemic heart disease.” The PVA-based triboelectric devices utilize the mechanical energy produced by the human body and use the electric power to support the biomedical device operations.

(Source: Wenzhuo Wu, Ph.D., Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star Assistant Professor, School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2020/Q3/invention-offers-new-option-for-monitoring-heart-health.html)




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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Wenzhuo Wu, PhD, Ravi and Eleanor Rising Star Assistant Professor in the school of industrial engineering

Read the entire Q&A