Changi General Hospital and Singapore University of Technology and Design have developed a sensor that detects real-time bleeding from wound sites after invasive medical procedures.
HOW IT WORKS
The Blood WArning Technology with Continuous Haemoglobin (BWATCH) sensor is a lightweight monitoring device placed over a patient’s bandage. By combining the light absorption properties of haemoglobin with a moisture-detecting sensor, the device can differentiate blood from other bodily fluids and in turn detect bleeding episodes.
BWATCH has been tested and validated in an observational clinical trial involving 250 patients at CGH. The findings of the trial were published in the journal, Scientific Reports. The developers have also patented the device in Singapore and the United States.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to a statement from CGH, in developed countries like Singapore, the incidence of acute dialysis is estimated to be at 200-300 per million population each year. If these patients encounter deterioration of their kidney functions, they will have to undergo haemodialysis. BWATCH was developed to minimise the risk of bleeding occurring after the insertion of a catheter during vascular access procedures.
BWATCH can be deployed in non-hospital settings, such as for on-site monitoring of traumatic wounds. Additionally, the device can be potentially integrated into hospital systems, such as the nurses’ call system.
THE LARGER TREND
Foong Shaohui, associate professor of the Department of Engineering Product Development at SUTD claimed that no commercial systems and products for fluid detection have been specifically developed for blood.
“While there are other commercial systems and products that are available for fluid detection, they are only able to detect the presence of fluids by changes in physical properties such as electrical resistance, capacitance or opacity to light,” he added.
A device for bleeding detection during cardiac procedures was introduced in 2017 in the US. Saranas’ Early Bird has a vascular access sheath embedded with sensors for real-time detection of bleeding caused by accidental rupture of a blood vessel during transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures.
In the same year, an interoperability partnership was established between IBM Watson Health and Israeli firm MedyMatch Technology. The latter has an AI-powered algorithm pointing out areas that may indicate potential cerebral bleeding.
In separate news, CGH also teamed up with Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems last year to develop an AI predictive engine that analyses chest radiographs to determine whether a patient is likely to have mild or severe pneumonia.
ON THE RECORD
“Heavy bleeding following medical procedures is rare but when it occurs, it can be life-threatening. Monitoring at short intervals is highly manpower intensive but necessary,” said Chionh Chang Yin, chief consultant of the Department of Renal Medicine at CGH.
“However, despite close monitoring, bleeding may still occur between these inspections. BWATCH offers continuous monitoring, allowing the care team to focus on other patient-centric tasks,” he added.
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