Caitlin Polley, Titus Jayarathna, Upul Gunawardana, Ganesh R. Naik, Tara Hamilton, Emilio Andreozzi, Paolo Bifulco, Daniele Esposito, Jessica Centracchio, Gaetano Gargiulo
Sensors, Volume 21, Issue 22, Pages 7586, Publisher MDPI, Journal Ranking Q1, Impact Factor 3.9
Publication year: 2021

Triage is the first interaction between a patient and a nurse/paramedic. This assessment, usually performed at Emergency departments, is a highly dynamic process and there are international grading systems that according to the patient condition initiate the patient journey. Triage requires an initial rapid assessment followed by routine checks of the patients’ vitals, including respiratory rate, temperature, and pulse rate. Ideally, these checks should be performed continuously and remotely to reduce the workload on triage nurses; optimizing tools and monitoring systems can be introduced and include a wearable patient monitoring system that is not at the expense of the patient’s comfort and can be remotely monitored through wireless connectivity. In this study, we assessed the suitability of a small ceramic piezoelectric disk submerged in a skin-safe silicone dome that enhances contact with skin, to detect wirelessly both respiration and cardiac events at several positions on the human body. For the purposes of this evaluation, we fitted the sensor with a respiratory belt as well as a single lead ECG, all acquired simultaneously. To complete Triage parameter collection, we also included a medical-grade contact thermometer. Performances of cardiac and respiratory events detection were assessed. The instantaneous heart and respiratory rates provided by the proposed sensor, the ECG and the respiratory belt were compared via statistical analyses. In all considered sensor positions, very high performances were achieved for the detection of both cardiac and respiratory events, except for the wrist, which provided lower performances for respiratory rates. These promising yet preliminary results suggest the proposed wireless sensor could be used as a wearable, hands-free monitoring device for triage assessment within emergency departments. Further tests are foreseen to assess sensor performances in real operating environments.