Ultrasound Patch Technology: Pros and Cons
By MedTech Outlook | Friday, November 30, 2018
The University of California, San Diego has given birth to new and innovative technology to the medical industry—a wearable ultrasound patch device, which can monitor blood pressure in arteries from deep under the skin such as the carotid artery and jugular vein. These wearable patches are small in size, but the work they do is a lot more than they appear. This small device can detect cardiovascular issue much earlier than the other existing systems detect an issue.
Wearable ultrasound patch devices continuously monitor the changes and variations in the blood pressure of a patient who has heart or lung disease or those who have to go through a surgical process. The ultrasound technology with the patch technology also enables physicians to track physiological signs from deep inside the body.
Central blood pressure and peripheral blood pressure are different; the blood pressure measured at the arm cuff of a patient is peripheral blood pressure, and central blood pressure is the pressure that is calculated directly from the heart through the central blood vessels to other major organs. The central blood pressure is commonly measured for discovering heart diseases. Here, the ultrasound patch devices become more advantageous.
The ultrasound patch contains a thin silicone elastomer sheet that consists of electrodes and piezoelectric transducers in “islands” pattern, which is linked with each other by using springy copper wire “bridges.” These features in the structure and shape of the patch devices allow it to bend, twist, and stretch without causing any decay to the electronic system. This style of the electronic system can be called as island-bridge structure.
The patch produces ultrasound waves into the body up to four cm beneath, and the data processor translates the monitored diameter of the pulse into a central blood pressure reading. Researchers tested the device by placing one ultrasound patch device on a person’s body and measured his/her blood pressure while sitting, standing and during exercise. From the test, the researchers were able to discover more accurate data than the data collected by the traditional ways of measuring blood pressures such as tonometer and a blood vessel-inserted character.
Today, researchers are planning advance the ultrasound patch monitoring technology by integrating a processor, a power source, and a wireless communication system, which can measure blood pressure and provide the reading through a standalone device. As a very efficient technological innovation, these patch devices are yet to attract the healthcare market increasingly.