03 October 2019 - On world sepsis day, the Institute of Global Health Innovation and CW+ ( the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) shared an article on 'How wearables could help tackle sepsis' featuring SENSIUM.
The article highlighted why sepsis is such a major concern and why it's difficult to diagnose stating:
'“Sepsis remains a massive problem, not only in the UK but globally. You only need to pick up a newspaper to spot recurring headlines; it’s a huge killer; as many as 1 in 4 people with sepsis will unfortunately die from the condition. And there’s been evidence to suggest that for every hour delay in diagnosis, the mortality rate goes up by 8%. Data show that if you pick sepsis up earlier, people are much more likely to have better outcomes.”
“One of the main problems is that it’s hard to spot. There’s no established molecular marker that can be used to pick up sepsis to date; there’s no single blood test for diagnosis, either. There are markers that are sometimes used, but they lack specificity. Patients also often have vague symptoms that could be attributed to something else, meaning it can go undetected.”
The article then focused on the work being completed by IGHI researcher, Meera Joshi:
What’s the aim of your research?
“One of the things we’re looking at doing is seeing if novel technology can help identify patients with sepsis sooner. One of the ways that healthcare professionals can check for deterioration of a patient’s condition on hospital wards is to measure their vital signs. Currently, nurses do this on wards around every 4-6 hours, checking things like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, etc. But we know delays can happen in making these observation rounds. So there could be an opportunity for us to detect sepsis, and deterioration more broadly, quicker.
“We’re looking at new wearable technology, originally developed at the College, which can measure a patient’s vital signs more often, up to every two minutes instead of hours apart. We want to see if this can speed up the detection of clinical deterioration.”
How does the wearable work?
“It’s a lightweight wearable device that attaches to a patient’s chest via electrodes. The sensor, provided by Sensium, records heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature every two minutes. Packets of data are then uploaded to the server before notifications can be sent to desktop computers or handheld devices used by clinical staff.
“We’ve been developing computer algorithms that will generate alerts when this data detects there is a problem. Through these, we’re identifying the best ones for nursing staff, so that the alert can be raised to nurses in real-time, as a patient’s condition is deteriorating.”
What do you hope to achieve with this work?
“I’m hoping we can use wearable technology in the future to help detect sepsis and patient deterioration quicker than is currently possible. And ultimately improve patient outcomes and survival; that’s the next step, to see how this can make a real difference to patients in practice.”
The full article can be found at wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/ighi/2019/09/13/how-wearables-could-help-tackle-sepsis