An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that can be harmless or life-threatening. The most common type is atrial fibrillation (AFib), where the upper heart chambers contract irregularly. This can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. It’s estimated that annually by 2030 as many as 12.1 million people in the United States will have AFib (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). There are limited options available to doctors assessing patients with irregular heart conditions. The most common is a Holter monitor, but these systems are restrictive to wear, and typically only offer a 24-hour recording window to capture any potential irregularity. Longer-term solutions such as implantable loop recorders (ILRs) are intrusive and require the patient to be placed under anesthetic to get them inserted. While there has been a recent surge in consumer devices that record ECG signals, they only provide limited recording fidelity, and intermittent monitoring.
How might we create an accurate, unintrusive, and non-invasive solution that could monitor you for weeks or even months?
Our solution is Viscero – a truly wearable ECG monitoring device. Its sensor technology is integrated seamlessly into a simple vest. A traditional Holter is uncomfortable and inhibits natural movement, often making the data it collects unrepresentative and unhelpful, so we’ve designed and engineered a wearable that is the same as throwing on a vest underneath your everyday clothes. Now you can run for the bus, walk your dog, hug your children and unwind on the sofa, without giving Viscero a second thought. It’s a medical-grade, 6-lead ECG monitoring system you can forget about.
One of the major innovations of Viscero is the use of dry electrodes that are positioned away from the chest to more peripheral locations, while maintaining consistent compression points. This enabled us to overcome the barrier of specificity. Viscero has compression on the arms and waist that is carefully integrated using lamination and double layer compression areas. Most importantly, the brain of Viscero is the size of a matchbox and fits easily into a small pocket on the t-shirt; You can take it out to recharge or put the t-shirt in the washing machine without any trouble. The device links to a healthcare professional’s dashboard that uses AI to segment recordings into pre-arrhythmia and post-arrhythmia. The data can then be triaged for cardiologists to review, saving hours of scrolling through ECG recordings. The patient app is designed to provide peace of mind through effortless interaction and direct connection with their healthcare consultant – empowering the therapeutic alliance.
Viscero allows its wearer to have the freedom of their everyday life, whilst simultaneously capturing and communicating vital data. The system of wearable vest combined with a shared doctor-patient dashboard could revolutionize ECG monitoring. Leading cardiologists have described the signal quality of Viscero’s ECG waveforms as “diagnostic quality data” and Viscero has the potential to drive a more connected and positive healthcare experience for both doctors and patients alike.
Our clothes will soon contain sensors that will dramatically improve our lives. Designers and entrepreneurs have the responsibility to conceive of truly purposeful applications of technology for people, and not simply embed novel technology into garments. Creating the next generation of wearable devices, an industry set to double over the next two years (source:Statista), requires cross-disciplinary skills working together: soft textiles, hard goods, electronic components, UX, UI and system design. But to the person wearing and using the device, it just needs to feel right. Viscero aims to revolutionize heart monitoring by addressing both needs of patients and healthcare professionals through innovative breakthroughs in wearable tech design.
Everyone at Design Partners shares the same goal, to elevate human potential. We seek the changes that can inspire and elevate in the most positive way – for people and for our planet. To learn more about Viscero – ECG Vest, or our other expertise please get in touch.
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