Sepsis, the inflammatory cascade response to a blood infection (septicemia), is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Causing over 8 million deaths each year, and each case costing an average range of $25,000 to $50,000, sepsis is a serious socioeconomic burden on hospitals around the world. Diagnosing sepsis is difficult for doctors, as the symptoms associated with sepsis can be caused by other disorders. Effective treatment of sepsis requires pinpointing the identity of the pathogen, which today is done by blood cultures that can take up to 5 days. However, as sepsis can prove fatal within 2-3 days, early diagnosis of sepsis is crucial to increasing a victim’s chances of survival.
Because the onset of sepsis is characterized by signature changes in certain vital signs, we developed an at-home monitoring system that can detect and analyze these signs. We designed an armband to constantly monitor a patient’s heart rate, body temperature, and respiratory rate, three important parameters related to sepsis. Data is sent through Bluetooth to a mobile application, which compares these values against set baseline values. When the calculated risk of sepsis is high, the application then alerts the user, their emergency contacts, and their doctor. A symptom test included in the application also facilitates predicting the presence of potential infection.
This device can be effectively utilized by sepsis-vulnerable patients, such as previous sepsis patients, or senile, immunocompromised, and port implanted patients. In the future, we hope to introduce additional sensors that monitor other indicators of sepsis, such as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and blood lactate levels. By introducing this point-of-care device, we hope to assist and streamline the treatment of sepsis patients as well as raise awareness about this disease.
(Left to right) Allison Cong, Krysia Olszewska, Brian Chan, and Kevin Adams worked on designing a point-of-care sepsis detection device. They developed an armband equipped with various sensor types to detect for critical vital signs and symptoms indicative of sepsis.
Click here to see the group's poster.