New York, Nov 19 (IANS) A team of researchers has developed an ingestible electronic device that can detect breathing depression in patients suffering from sleep apnea.
The new sensor measures heart and breathing rate from patients with sleep apnea and could also be used to monitor people at risk of opioid overdose.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Celero Systems, and West Virginia University hope that using an ingestible capsule they developed can monitor vital signs from within the patient’s GI tract.
The capsule developed by Celero Systems, which is about the size of a multivitamin, uses an accelerometer to measure the patient’s breathing rate and heart rate.
In addition to diagnosing sleep apnea, the device could also be useful for detecting opioid overdoses in people at high risk, the researchers said in a paper published in the journal Device.
“It’s an exciting intervention to help people be diagnosed and then receive the appropriate treatment if they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea,” says Giovanni Traverso, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The device also has the potential for early detection of changes in respiratory status, whether it’s a result of opiates or other conditions that could be monitored, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he informed.
In a study of 10 human volunteers, the researchers showed that the capsule can be used to monitor vital signs and to detect sleep apnea episodes, which occur when the patient repeatedly stops and starts breathing during sleep.
The patients did not show any adverse effects from the capsule, which passed harmlessly through the digestive tract. In earlier tests in an animal model, the researchers found that this capsule could accurately measure breathing rate and heart rate.
In one experiment, they showed that the sensor could detect the depression of breathing rate that resulted from a large dose of fentanyl, an opioid drug.
“What we were able to show is that using the capsule, we could capture data that matched what the traditional transdermal sensors would capture,” Traverso said.
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