|49||Neonatal Vitals Monitoring and Phototherapy Device
|Jaundice is the number 1 reason newborns are readmitted to hospitals worldwide . 5-10% of newborn mortality worldwide is due to jaundice and every year over 6 million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment [2,1]. Phototherapy is a known treatment for jaundice and works by emitting blue light over the patient’s skin and, through photo-oxidation and photoisomerization, converts bilirubin molecules to a less toxic, isomeric form . Here we propose building a system which uses phototherapy to treat jaundice and takes vitals important to neonatal health (i.e., temperature, weight, and heart rate) to be applied for healthcare in developing countries.
While simplistic phototherapy systems currently exist in low-resource hospitals, an inexpensive system of treating neonatal jaundice and monitoring vital signs simultaneously does not exist. The added vitals component enables healthcare workers (doctors and nurses) to be able to spend more time in actually treating patients as opposed to having to take the time to measure and take temperature, heart rate, and weight. This is especially useful for hospitals in developing countries, wherein nurses and doctors are continuously severely understaffed.
The inspiration for this project comes from one of our team members actually visiting a developing nation (Nicaragua), working in the pediatrics wing of rural hospitals (mainly Somoto and Granada, Nicaragua) and analyzing their needs both through interviews and observations. Several doctors and nurses described that some sort of device like this would significantly aid them during neonatal care, especially if er are successful in making this cost-efficient as is planned.
The device will appear in a box shape with overhead lighting; moreover, the device can be best visualized as a mobile incubator. This device can essentially be broken down into 3 major components:
* Phototherapy device (for jaundice treatment)
* Vitals monitoring system (anklet with pulse oximeter, temperature sensor, weight measuring system)
* Temperature regulation (heated mattress + feedback loop)
For the purposes of creating this device for application in low-resource settings, the phototherapy device will just involve a panel of blue LEDs (preferably 450-465 nm wavelength range). Exposing the patient’s skin to blue light is a simple and cost friendly solution to treating jaundice and is a long-proven concept . This panel of LEDs would be above the infant and facing towards the infant. The efficacy of this device will be validated by comparing the total irradiance or light intensity of the LED panel to currently-existing phototherapy systems [1,2].
Vitals Monitoring System:
The vitals monitoring system consists of a pulse oximeter, temperature sensor, and a force sensor to monitor the baby’s weight. These sensors will ideally be attached to the baby’s fingers and ankle. We will build the pulse oximeter. The pulse oximeter will measure the reflectance of injected red and infrared LEDs of the infant's skin; furthermore, using this signal we will be able to extrapolate the baby’s pulse. The temperature sensors will monitor the baby’s temperature. We will be automating the task of weighing the baby via the force sensor as well using the trend data to inform doctors when babies are potentially in critical condition (due to water loss, etc.). Pulse, temperature data, and weight tracking will be displayed on the device on a basic external hex display. These sensors will be controlled and programed by a standard microcontroller unit.
A large part of neonatal incubation involves regulating the temperature of the environment the baby is in. The accepted range of temperatures for an ideal condition for these infants is between 33-37 degrees Celsius. Temperature sensors will be placed near the bottom of the bassinet structure to measure the ambient temperature of the environment. Using a feedback control loop using the the heating component within this designed “mattress” will either turn on or off. The design that we’re planning on implementing for the actual heating component is simple system using wire, carbon heater tape, resistors and a power supply.