Band Aide Size Discovery Accurately Monitors Patients Breathing – During and After Surgery
One of the most important indicators of a patient’s medical status is – quite simply – the way he or she breathes. During and after surgery, physicians closely monitor the rate by which air passes in and out of the lungs. Good breath flow is a good sign. Irregular or noisy breathing can raise a serious red flag and an increasing respiratory rate can be an early warning sign of a major adverse event. A decreasing respiratory rate may indicate opioids induced respiratory depression. Researchers may have identified a device to expand monitoring of patients in recovery. The device – the mere size of a small bandage– could soon add to the safety of patients in recovery. Dr. Michael Ramsay, president of Baylor Research Institute (BRI) and his team reviewed the effectiveness of an acoustic respiratory rate monitor, a tool that measures a patient’s breathing through sound. The small device, placed on the patient’s neck, is equipped with acoustic technology that translates respiratory sounds into an electronic signal. It is basically a digital stethoscope that can transmit breath sounds to a remote monitor. “Existing technology measuring exhaled carbon dioxide (capnometer) is placed in a very sensitive area under the nose. These devices are frequently dislodged and not wireless,” Dr. Ramsay said. The new device, he said, measures respiratory rate – an important component of ventilation – and displays the quality of the breath sound. It is unobtrusive to the patient and wireless. Among their findings, the team saw that the acoustic device accurately recorded breath rate both automatically and continually.