Wearable Ultrasonic Device Revolutionizes Continuous Monitoring of Cardiac Function

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A wearable cardiac ultrasound imager is a cutting-edge medical technology that allows for non-invasive monitoring and imaging of the heart in real time. This innovative device is worn on the body. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the heart’s structures and functions, allowing healthcare professionals to assess cardiac health and diagnose cardiovascular conditions.

Wearable ultrasound imagers offer several advantages compared to traditional cardiac imaging methods, such as echocardiography or MRI scans. They are more portable and convenient, allowing continuous monitoring and faster diagnosis. They are also less expensive, making them more accessible to patients in various healthcare settings.  

With the increasing prevalence of heart disease worldwide, wearable cardiac ultrasound images represent a significant advancement in cardiology. They can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by enabling earlier detection and treatment of cardiovascular conditions. 

Continuous imaging of cardiac functions is crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health, detecting acute cardiac dysfunction, and managing critically ill or surgical patients. However, due to device bulkiness, traditional non-invasive imaging methods are limited in their ability to provide continuous measurements. Wearable devices that capture signals on the skin have limited their capacity to monitor cardiac function in real time.   

According to a study published in Nature, scientists have developed a new wearable ultrasonic device that allows for real-time direct and continuous cardiac function assessment. The device features piezoelectric transducer arrays, liquid metal composite electrodes, and triblock copolymer encapsulation, all built on a styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS) material. The device has an orthogonal configuration, eliminating the need for manual rotation during imaging, and each transducer element has an anisotropic 1-3 piezoelectric composite and a silver-epoxy-based backing layer.

The device is highly conductive and easy to pattern, with lap shear measurements showing interfacial solid bonding strength. it also has excellent electromechanical properties, with a low Young’s modulus and high stretchability, allowing it to maintain intimate contact with the skin over a large area. This novel technology allows for dynamic wearable monitoring of cardiac performance, providing highly accurate measurements in various environments.

The device offers objective data to standardize the endpoint for terminating the exercise, enhancing patient safety throughout the test. The wearable imager uses liquidus silicone as the couplant to achieve stable image quality and has shown no skin irritation or allergy after 24 hours of continuous wear. In a stress echocardiography test, the device demonstrated uninterrupted tracking of left ventricular activities, including corresponding.   

M-mode echocardiography and synchronized heart-rate waveform. The results indicate the stable and reliable performance of the wearable imager. The device can capture transient pathologic responses during stress that can be masked by a quick recovery after exercise, leading to false-negative examinations. Unlike current cumbersome echocardiography technologies, which limit their application in continuous monitoring, this wearable imager is flexible, lightweight, and can be worn on the skin.

It features piezoelectric transducer arrays, liquid metal composite electrodes, and triblock copolymer encapsulation, making it highly conductive and easy to pattern. The device can also image other deep tissues, such as the inferior vena cava, abdominal aorta, spine, and liver. While there is room for improvement in spatial resolution and system miniaturization and integration, this technology can revolutionize non-invasive cardiac imaging and extend potential benefits to outpatient and athletic populations. 


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