Technology has been developed to allow people to monitor their lung condition remotely. It comes in the form of a smart shirt worn by the patient which records lung activity. A recent trial has found it to be just as accurate at recording lung activity as conventional methods carried out at hospital.
How it works
The smart shirt links to a mobile app which receives all the data. Sensors measure lung activity as the fabric stretches when the chest expands and contracts. The technology, known as Hexoskin, then uses the measurements to work out the volume of air going in and out of the lungs. The technology also records heart rate and level of movement of the wearer.
The shirt, worn under normal clothes, was reported by those taking part in the trial to be comfortable. It would also save patients having to regularly attend hospital appointments for monitoring to be done and allow more reliable monitoring through measuring everyday activity.
Hopes for the future
The longer-term hope is that the technology can be used to monitor those suffering with lung conditions and determine any signs of deterioration early on. This will allow problems to be treated sooner and could mean less time spent in hospital.
In some cases, lung conditions can remain stable. However, patients with lung conditions, such as COPD, emphysema and asbestos-related conditions such as asbestosis and pleural thickening, often suffer progressive problems with deterioration in their lung function. Their conditions require regular check-ups at the hospital, leading to inevitable cost.
Whilst there is some concern about the cost of the technology and exactly how it will be used, it is encouraging that research into lung conditions continues to develop, in some cases thank to technological advances.
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