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24 September 2008

New device uses mobile technology to save lives and transform patient care in hospitals

RESEARCHERS at Smiths Medical have developed a unique wireless blood pressure monitor using Bluetooth™ technology which is set to transform the way medics treat critically ill patients in hospital.

Many patients, such as those with serious heart problems, need to be monitored continuously through a variety of life saving machines they are literally ‘wired’ to.  This not only can distress relatives and friends visiting the patient, but can also create problems for medics attempting to rush patients between the intensive care unit and operating theatre or to another room for essential tests or treatments.

Untangling and disconnecting the ‘spaghetti’ – as it is commonly known – of lines to life support machines, monitors and drug infusion pumps is an arduous task that can risk patient safety and hinder the ability of medics to perform their basic tasks.  

smartX®, launched today by Smiths Medical, is  a unique wireless Invasive Blood Pressure Monitoring (IBPM) system which will, for the first time, allow clinicians continuously to monitor their patient’s blood pressure while they are being transported -  without connections – potentially speeding up urgent treatment and saving lives. 

Michael Mythen, Professor of Anaesthesia and Critical Care at University College London, said: “Transporting critically ill patients is a great challenge which is routinely performed with great skill and ingenuity as there is a lack of purpose-built equipment.  Wireless solutions to this unmet medical need are welcomed with enthusiasm.”

The new system uses Bluetooth™ wireless technology – commonly used to transmit data such as pictures and ringtones between mobile devices such as mobile phones and laptops. It continuously displays a patient’s blood pressure on screens in the operating room and intensive care or preparation unit, enabling clinicians to monitor up to four patients’ vital signs at the same time.

Using current devices, patients often have to be disconnected from vital signs monitors for up to 10 minutes while being taken to the operating theatre.  This disconnection, which is required because of complicated cable systems, can be dangerous as a patient’s weakening condition – indicated by their abnormal blood pressure – may not be detected until later, potentially putting the patient at risk.

Srini Seshadri, President of Smiths Medical, said: “smartX® offers a revolutionary way of monitoring blood pressure, which will make life easier for healthcare professionals and greatly improve patient safety.  Indeed, the use of such technology in medical applications puts us well in line for the advent of the ‘wireless hospital’.”


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