Objective. Current wearable respiratory monitoring devices provide a basic assessment of the breathing pattern of the examined subjects. More complex monitoring is needed for healthcare applications in patients with lung diseases. A multi-sensor vest allowing continuous lung imaging by electrical impedance tomography (EIT) and auscultation at six chest locations was developed for such advanced application. The aims of our study were to determine the vest´s capacity to record the intended bio-signals, its safety and the comfort of wearing in a first clinical investigation in healthy adult subjects.
Approach. Twenty subjects (age range: 23-65 years) were studied while wearing the vests during a 14-step study protocol comprising phases of quiet and deep breathing, slow and forced full expiration manoeuvres, coughing, breath-holding in seated and three horizontal postures. EIT, chest sound and accelerometer signals were streamed to a tablet using a dedicated application and uploaded to a back-end server. The subjects filled in a questionnaire on the vest properties using a Likert scale.
Main results. All subjects completed the full protocol. Good to excellent EIT waveforms and functional EIT images were obtained in 89% of the subjects. Breathing pattern and posture dependent changes in ventilation distribution were properly detected by EIT. Chest sounds were recorded in all subjects. Detection of audible heart sounds was feasible in 44%-67% of the subjects, depending on the sensor location. Accelerometry correctly identified the posture in all subjects. The vests were safe and their properties positively rated, thermal and tactile properties achieved the highest scores.
Significance. The functionality and safety of the studied wearable multi-sensor vest and the high level of its acceptance by the study participants were confirmed. Availability of personalized vests might further advance its performance by improving the sensor-skin contact.
Publication ReferencePhysiological Measurement, vol. 44 (4), pp. 045002