Pressure Sore & Wound Care

Handheld Probe to Assess and Prevent Pressure Ulcers from Forming During Hospital Stays

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A composite image showing the multiple sensing capabilities of a prototype medical sensing device developed by GE researchers with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation. Top-Left: Visual RGB Image; bottom-left: 3D Image; top-right: Multi-spectral Imaging and Recovered Feature Map and bottom-right: Thermal Imaging. Each of these provides insights to help assess whether a bed sore may be healing, getting worse or becoming infected. (Image courtesy of GE Global Research.)

A composite image showing the multiple sensing capabilities of a prototype medical sensing device developed by GE researchers with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation. Top-Left: Visual RGB Image; bottom-left: 3D Image; top-right: Multispectral Imaging and Recovered Feature Map; and bottom-right: Thermal Imaging. Each of these provides insights to help assess whether a bed sore may be healing, getting worse, or becoming infected. (Image courtesy of GE Global Research.)

A high-tech ally has just entered the battle against pressure sores. The device, developed jointly by the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation and Niskayuna, NY-based GE Global Research, is a handheld probe that combines motion analysis, thermal profiling, 3D object reconstruction, and vapor detection. The goal of this effort is to provide a single medical sensing device to assess and monitor the progression of pressure ulcers, or bed sores, formed during hospital stays.

According to a media release from GE Global Research, the new device has built-in analytics software to analyze data for informed decision-making about patient treatment. The release also indicates the device currently is undergoing pilot testing among 18 patients at the Charlie Norwood VA Spinal Cord facility, August, Ga.

Additional features said to be included on the new probe include a thermal sensor that measures the temperature profile within and around the ulcer and an RGB sensor that can help characterize the visual color and texture pattern of the ulcer, providing quantitative analysis of the wound tissue composition.

Furthermore the company reports that a 3D sensor will allow the detailed capture of 3D geometric shape of the wound, with the aim of enabling more objective quantification of wound dimension changes over time. The probe also features a chemical sensory to aid in detection of vapors released from the ulcer, where abnormal readings can indicate certain types of bacteria and infection, and a hyperspectral sensor to help quantify the oxygenated hemoglobin, deoxygenated hemoglobin, and their ratio in the skin area.

Other important technologies engineered into the device include a situational awareness sensor to provide continuous monitoring of patient positions in bed and body movement, and a decision support dashboard web-portal, where clinical users can easily read out the comprehensive analysis.

[Source: GE Global Research]