Toilet seat heart monitoring system

Researchers have made a gadget that could fit on top of a normal toilet seat and it can also measure the heart beat, blood pressure, blood levels of oxygen and other parameters. This means that this device could potentially detect heart disease victims by catching early signs of heart problems and save lives say researchers.

The results of the study titled, “In-Home Cardiovascular Monitoring System for Heart Failure: Comparative Study,” were published in the latest issue of the journal JMIR mHealth.

The toilet seat–based cardiovascular monitoring system is completely self-contained, battery-powered, wireless, and cleanable with all sensors and electronics instrumentation integrated inside of the seat. It can measure the electrocardiogram (ECG), photoplethysmogram (PPG), and the ballistocardiogram (BCG). Image Credit: 2019 JMIR Publications
The toilet seat–based cardiovascular monitoring system is completely self-contained, battery-powered, wireless, and cleanable with all sensors and electronics instrumentation integrated inside of the seat. It can measure the electrocardiogram (ECG), photoplethysmogram (PPG), and the ballistocardiogram (BCG). Image Credit: 2019 JMIR Publications

The device contains sensors that can measure vital parameters though the legs of the user. The legs contain major arteries that branch out from the aorta and these parameters can be easily measured from these arteries. Essentially the small battery powered device contains anelectrocardiogram, ballistocardiogram, and a photoplethysmogram. It can measure blood pressure, heart rate, rhythm, stroke volume or the volume of blood pumped out by the heart, blood oxygen levels, body weight etc.

The device has the capacity to measure at-risk patients’ real-time vitals and provide a feedback. The device at present is priced at around £1,500 and could be helpful for hospitals and clinics feel the researchers. The team from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York believes this device has the potential to prevent countless hospital admissions and save millions of lives. They explain that one in four heart failure patients need to be re-admitted to the hospitals within a month of their discharge and 45 percent need a readmission within 6 weeks of discharge said postdoctoral fellow Nicholas Conn, who was one of the developers of the device. This device could help monitor the patients at home and prevent unnecessary alarm or readmission.

The seat device is Wi-Fi enabled and the information from it could go directly to the doctors or health care providers if needed. The health care providers can then decide upon the next course of action, explain the researchers. The researchers add that the device is battery-powered, waterproof and wireless. It does not need any programming or setting up by the user and is thus easy to install and use.

They wrote, “This system has the potential to address many of the challenges with in-home monitoring.” They add that no extra effort would be required on the part of the patients and this would make the monitoring more acceptable. They wrote, “Such a device may enable new approaches and capabilities in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including but not limited to those with heart failure... If successful this strategy has the potential to reduce the burden of heart failure and cardiovascular disease on the health care industry as well as improve the quality of life for patients.”

The trial of this new device is being made by the firm Heart Health Intelligence and for this around 150 patients with heart disease who have been discharged from the hospital would be included. Conn is the founder and CEO of Heart Health Intelligence.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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