Ear sensor enables safe telemedical care for COVID-19 risk patients
TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MUNICHCorporate Communications Center
This text on the web: https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36943
High resolution images: https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/1631472
Monitoring protects SARS-CoV-2 patients
Telemedicine facilitates successful home care for COVID-19 high-risk patients
Using telemedicine, COVID-19 patients can be cared for safely at home – from initial home isolation to recovery or, in case problems arise, admission to hospital. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now successfully demonstrated this in a study involving 150 patients with risk factors for a severe progression of the disease.
COVID-19 patients are required to go into home isolation. But this can be dangerous for high-risk patients if they develop a severe progression during isolation. In this case, timely admission to the hospital for treatment can be critical for survival.
Unfortunately, many COVID-19 patients do not immediately notice when their condition starts to deteriorate. The alternative of playing safe by admitting all at-risk patients immediately upon diagnosis would overburden the clinics.
Small effort – large gain in safety
During the recent Corona waves, Georg Schmidt and his team provided telemedical care to more than 150 patients with risk factors for a severe progression of the disease using an ear sensor that is easily worn behind the ear like a hearing aid.
The sensor recorded all important values such as body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, and oxygen saturation in 15-minute intervals and transmitted the data to the telemedicine center at TUM’s university hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar. There, the team continuously monitored all incoming data. In addition, each participant was called at least once a day to inquire about his or her condition.
Whenever the team noticed a deterioration in the readings, they called the patient. A physician then took a decision on whether hospitalization was indicated. With minimal effort, the team achieved a quality of monitoring quite comparable to that at a hospital.
Great patient satisfaction
Around one in eight participants had to be admitted during the study. Interestingly, most of these patients later stated that they did not themselves realize the degree of deterioration in their condition.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study worldwide to continuously monitor patients in home isolation remotely and to prompt immediate hospitalization in the event of critical health deterioration," said Prof. Georg Schmidt, head of the Biosignal Processing Group at the Klinikum rechts der Isar.
The study illustrates that COVID-19 risk patients can be monitored effectively using telemedicine, potentially saving valuable resources in future waves of infection. Patients were also very satisfied and felt significantly safer thanks to the continuous monitoring.
Remote monitoring of COVID-19 positive high-risk patients in domestic isolation: A feasibility study
David Wurzer, Paul Spielhagen, Adonia Siegmann, Ayca Gercekcioglu, Judith Gorgass, Simone Henze, Yuron Kolar, Felix Koneberg, Sari Kukkonen, Hannah McGowan, Stefanie Schmid-Eisinger, Alexander Steger, Michael Dommasch, Hans Ulrich Haase, Alexander Müller, Eimo Martens, Bernhard Haller, Katharina M. Huster, Georg Schmidt
PLOS ONE, 16(9): e0257095; 24. Sept. 2021 – DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257095
The study was funded by the TUM University Foundation, the Margarete Ammon Foundation and the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts. The sensor used by the authors is manufactured by Cosinuss GmbH, a spin-off from the Technical University of Munich.
Press release at the starting point of the research:
High resolution images:
Prof. Dr. Georg Schmidt
Technical University of Munich, Klinikum rechts der Isar
Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology
Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany
Tel.: +49 89 289 22731 – E-mail: email@example.com
The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s leading research universities, with more than 600 professors, 45,000 students, and 10,000 academic and non-academic staff. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, combined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with the TUM Asia campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006, 2012, and 2019 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany. www.tum.de