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Posted on March 11, 2008 by  & 

Bed sheets monitor heart patients in their own home

Bed sheets with built in sensors are being developed so that heart patients can take a more proactive role at home in the treatment and management of their condition thereby reducing the overall healthcare costs in the EU.
Researchers will develop the systems to monitor blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and heart activity as part of the HeartCycle project which aims to extend the disease management concept for specific patient groups with a focus on improving patient compliance to medication and lifestyle therapies.
These systems will be embedded into the patient's clothing or bed sheets and home appliances such as weight scales and blood pressure monitors. The aim of the project is to develop dedicated software that analyzes the data, and provides feedback on the patient's health. It also aims to develop mechanisms to report relevant data back to clinicians automatically so that they can prescribe personalized therapies and lifestyle recommendations.
According to recent research on countries across the EU by European HeartNet Connection, each year cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes over 2.0 million deaths - nearly half of all deaths in the EU. It is the second main cause of the disease burden and in 2006 CVD cost the health care systems just under €110 billion - around 10% of the total health care cost.
Production losses from death and illness in those of working age and from the informal care of people with the disease contribute greatly to the overall financial burden of around €41 billion - €13.9 billion of this cost is due to illness.
Finding better ways to manage and treat coronary heart disease and chronic heart failure is therefore seen as one of the most effective ways of reducing the human cost and financial burden of these debilitating conditions.
"The greatest challenge and opportunity for the management of long-term medical conditions is to help patients to help themselves," says Professor John Cleland MD, Head of the Department of Cardiology at the University of Hull (UK), past chairman of both the Working Group on Heart Failure of the European Society of Cardiology and of the British Society for Heart Failure and Chief Medical Officer of the HeartCycle project. He adds, "Investing directly in people who need help, and not just in services that do things to or for them, makes sense in terms of improved care, greater affordability and the effective deployment of scarce nursing and medical resources."
The HeartCycle consortium which is led by Royal Philips Electronics, Netherlands consists of 18 research, academic, industrial and medical organizations from nine different European countries and China. The €21 million project of which €14 million will be funded by the European Union as part of the EU 7th Framework program will run for four years.

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Posted on: March 11, 2008

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