Scientists of the South Ural State University have improved and patented an ECG pillow. It allows contactless monitoring of the newborns’ heart rate with high accuracy but also to observe their breathing. The device will minimize Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The development is based on the technology of recording an ECG signal in a pseudo-contact manner using electrodes made of conductive fabric placed on a material with a shape “memory” effect. Using these electrodes, a signal is taken, and through conductive wires, it is transmitted to an ECG recorder. This method of monitoring the functional state of the baby is the most comfortable for him, while he provides excellent accuracy. In 2019, the scientific team received a patent for a device for monitoring the functional state of newborns (No. 189006).
“The fact is that it is relatively challenging to take an ECG from a newborn with traditional electrocardiographs. We used conductive electrodes made of fabric laid on a soft base. When a baby is placed on such a pillow, it calms down, and the material itself takes the form of his body for a certain time. An ECG is recorded from the legs, back, and head of the baby. The ECG pillow itself is made from Rosava LLC. We have tested these pillows in intensive care units of newborns of several Chelyabinsk clinics. Upon completion of the experiments, new beneficial features of the device were noted. We found that in addition to the electrocardiogram, breathing can also be recorded. And this in some cases is even more significant than ECG data, since the lives of infants, especially after a difficult birth, are threatened by apnea, or temporary respiratory arrest. By monitoring not only the heart rhythm but also the characteristics of the baby’s breathing, we can prevent his sudden death in the first year of life,” Vladimir Kodkin says, doctor of technical sciences, senior researcher at the Department of SUSU Physical Education and Health, Institute of Sports, Tourism, and Service.
Today, there are a significant number of devices that record the state of breathing, but all of them use direct control sensors inserted into the nose or throat of a person. Scientists of the South Ural State University have proposed the use of an orthopedic mattress employing similar technology in combination with an ECG pillow. Possessing sensors of hypersensitive registration of electric signals allow you to observe not only the electrocardiogram but also the respiratory movements of the child. When the baby does not breathe for several seconds, the system gives a signal about the need for medical intervention.
It is essential to note that the results of the study will discover applications in creating other products of the line of devices recording ECG. Thanks to the textile conductive electrode and a soft base, scientists can create electrodes of any size that will capture the signal from any part of the body, even through clothing. Therefore, a prototype of an ECG chair has been designed. It receives a signal in a non-contact way: textile electrodes located in a specific way and sewn into the casing allow transmitting ECG data to the recorder. In addition, the research team is creating a special belt that can also transmit data on the heart rate and respiratory rate of a person. These devices will consider applications among the elderly, as well as those who have suffered terrible illnesses and need constant monitoring of their health.