A breath of fresh air

in respiratory care

Breathing can be a constant struggle for someone with chronic respiratory diseases. Bio-impedance measuring is a non-obtrusive way for continuous respiratory monitoring.
Technology explained

Respiratory diseases are diagnosed and monitored by measuring the patient’s pulmonary function. Currently spirometry is the main test for assessing many respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But because they are so obtrusive, they offer no more than a spot check. They are not suitable for continuous respiratory monitoring – for instance during sleep – or for ambulatory measurement. Over the past few years we have investigated the use of bio-impedance as a non-invasive technique for measuring respiration. Several studies have shown a linear relationship between bio-impedance and respiratory volume. This correlation was explored in a large-scale clinical study among patients with COPD. Bio-impedance combined with non-invasive muscle-activity monitoring provides complementary monitoring to spirometry in respiratory patients and can be combined into a single wearable device.

Imec at Holst Centre combines its innovative biomedical systems-on-chip technology with extensive knowledge of at-home and on-the-go wearables to develop unobtrusive bio-impedance measuring devices.

Societal benefits

Chronic respiratory diseases are among the most widespread medical conditions. Worldwide, 235 million people suffer from asthma and 251 million from COPD. All these patients stand to benefit from adequate assessment and management of their condition. Here, technologies for cost-efficient and unobtrusive respiratory care can make a real difference. In addition, this technology is useful for general vital-sign monitoring, since difficult breathing is one of the first signs of general medical deterioration.