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Warsaw University of Technology students are working on a drip level and pulse deficit meter

04.08.2017 Health, Universities

Conversations with doctors were the inspiration for the project. Photo: BPI

Better control of fluid levels in patient drips and registration of heart rate deficits will be possible thanks to the work of students from the Biomedical Equipment Science Club at Warsaw University of Technology. The project is the answer to the suggestions and requests of healthcare professionals.

Students from the Biomedical Equipment Science Club at the Faculty of Mechatronics, Warsaw University of Technology decided to create an inexpensive and easy-to-use patient monitoring system - MediControl. They planned to include several components: a drip fluid level measuring system, an ECG measuring device, a heart rate monitor, a multi-patient data collection system capable of displaying results (for example in a nurses' room) and data presentation software.


Currently, students work in two groups: one focuses on measuring fluid level in the drip and creating a network to collect information, while the other handles the cardiological part. Warsaw University of Technology reported on the research project on its website.


"My girlfriend studies medicine and had nursing internship. She told me how bad the problem of staff shortage is in Polish hospitals" - Bartosz Kowalski said about the beginning of the project. "If there are two nurses in the ward, it's hard for them to see, which patient's drip is empty. And when it is empty and is not replaced quickly, , the blood gets sucked back in" - he said.


Doctors also told the students that this was a problem. The young innovators started to act. "We knew that our device could not interfere with the drip fluid, so we immediately abandoned float-based measurements" - said Krzysztof Apolinarski, and added that it would require opening the bag. Another idea - laser measurement - was also quickly rejected. "The nurse would have to spend a lot of time setting up the device, and we do not know if the light would pass through every bag would the same way. So we decided to focus on weight measurement" - said Apolinarski. He added that it was difficult to write the correct algorithm for the program, because it was necessary to predict various types of vibrations and movements of the bag. "But beyond the basic calibration, the device will only need to be hanged on the drip +hanger+, and then attach the fluid bag to the device" - he explained.


Students from the 3D Printing Science Club help meet the requirements of clinical equipment. "They are doing us a great favour - they print enclosures for the project using special antibacterial material" - said Szymon Krasuski. "This material is only used in the best medical equipment. Normally, we would have to pay over PLN 1000 for printing".


Measuring devices of this type are not available yet. "There is an device for automatic drip control, its operation is based on the entered volume of fluid the patient should receive" - said Krzysztof Apolinarski. "This device is expensive and has errors" - he said. Bartosz Kowalski added that such devices are used in severe cases, for example when morphine is dispensed. "Our device will work quite differently" - he explained.




Doctors also reported another problem in discussions with students: registering the pulse deficit. This is the situation when the difference between myocardial and peripheral arterial pulse is too large. This may mean that the patient's blood vessels stiffen, which can be the cause of many diseases.


"Doctors have a device that they use to measure pulse deficit" - said Szymon Krasuski. "But the result are inaccurate. Doctors rely on their experience. And in analysing pulse deficit, a single measurement, for example, every 12 hours is not very useful. On top of that, it requires the participation of an experienced doctor, so a nurse could not make rounds more often to mage more frequent measurements" - he explained.


Warsaw University of Technology students have come up with using two components for pulse deficit measurement: an ECG and a heart rate monitor that collects pulse information from a finger. "The measurement will be continuous, so that the physician will be able to keep track of the patient's situation and analyse the data" said Szymon Krasuski.


In this part of the project, the members of the Biomedical Equipment Science Club cooperate with the Biophysical Measurements Science Club "BioS" at the Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, and the Science Club of Doctors of the Medical University of Warsaw.




Transmitting data from drip fluid level monitors and pulse monitors to nurses and doctors will be possible thanks to the use of a network.


According to the students' plans, doctors and nurses will be able to observe the collected data. After entering the patient's room, the doctor will, for example, connect to the network and watch the measurements from the devices on his mobile phone.


This is not the end of the ideas of the members of the Biomedical Equipment Science Club. They are already thinking about how to make MediControl work also when patients have already been discharged from hospital and how to adequately protect the data transferred by the system.


PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland


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