Life-saving vest shocks wearers' hearts to keep them alive

Apparently, 20 percent of patients who need to wear defibrillators don’t actually keep them on at all times — even if they mean the difference between life and death. So, a group of biomedical engineering students from the John Hopkins University designed a new type of wearable defibrillator, which is unobtrusive and comfortable unlike traditional harness designs. The undergrads’ version takes on the form of a stretchable, waterproof vest fitted with sensors. Also, instead of using bulky control boxes to monitor the condition of a patient, its sensors are connected to a relatively small smartwatch-like interface.

Doctors typically ask patients to use wearable defibrillators if they’ve recently had a heart attack or a heart surgery, and they’re waiting for a pacemaker implant. The team didn’t exactly change the science behind the device, they just make wearable defibrillators a lot more, well, wearable, so that patients won’t be tempted to take them off. According to team member Melinda Chen:

We just changed the form of the device. We pursued a ‘slip-on and forget’ approach to minimize the user’s need to maintain and interact with the device.

That means the vest, like any harness defibrillator, detects deadly irregular heart rhythms and shock patients with electricity (200 joules, in particular) to return their heartbeat to normal. In case of a false alarm, patients have 30 seconds to disable the system through its interface. While the the device has already passed preliminary testing using manikins that can mimic a patient’s heartbeat, it won’t be replacing current designs anytime soon. The team plans to polish the prototype further, and of course, it needs to undergo even more testing before it can start saving lives.

Filed under:


Source: John Hopkins University

Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On