Wearable Defibrillator System is lightweight and highly portable
A bunch of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students have managed to come together to work on a new lightweight, easy-to-conceal shirt-like garment that is capable of offering life-saving shocks to those who happen to suffer from serious heart problems. According to the students, this particular design would be able to improve upon a wearable defibrillator system which is currently in action already.
Design changes made to the existing system ought to persuade patients who happen to suffer from the risk of sudden cardiac arrest to be comfortable with wearing such a system around the clock. Studies have shown that up to one fifth of patients who received the defibrillator garment did not wear it due to comfort and appearance issues, in addition to problems of sleeping in it, not to mention the frequent ‘maintenance alarms’ that happen whenever the device fails to obtain a good signal from sensors on the patient’s skin. With this new wearable defibrillator, it is hoped that such aversion to the device will no longer be there.
Basically, this prototype defibrillator vest will feature conductive textile cloth for the shocking electrodes that are sewn into the back of the garment, making it a whole lot more effective without looking ugly. Not only that, it will be a whole lot more practical and affordable than having to go through a medical procedure to implant a tiny defibrillator in the chest, which could cost approximately $150,000, not to mention up to three months of testing and insurance review in order to approve the costly procedure.
It is all a matter of perspective, as team member Melinda Chen shared, “We did not change any of the science involving how a wearable defibrillator works. We just changed the form of the device. We pursued a ‘slip-on and forget’ approach to minimize the user’s need to maintain and interact with the device.”