Applications of modern sensors and wireless technology in effective wound management

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Abstract

The management of chronic wounds has emerged as a major health care challenge during the 21st century consuming, significant portions of health care budgets. Chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, and pressure sores have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of affected individuals. Covering wounds with suitable dressings facilitates the healing process and is common practice in wound management plans. However, standard dressings do not provide insights into the status of the wound underneath. Parameters such as moisture, pressure, temperature and pH inside the dressings are indicative of the healing rate, infection, and wound healing phase. But owing to the lack of information available from within the dressings, these are often changed to inspect the wound, disturbing the normal healing process of wounds in addition to causing pain to the patient. Sensors embedded in the dressing would provide clinicians and nurses with important information that would aid in wound care decision making, improve patient comfort, and reduce the frequency of dressing changes. The potential benefits of this enabling technology would be seen in terms of a reduction in hospitalization time and health care cost. Modern sensing technology along with wireless radio frequency communication technology is poised to make significant advances in wound management. This review discusses issues related to the design and implementation of sensor technology and telemetry systems both incorporated in wound dressings to devise an automated wound monitoring technology, and also surveys the literature available on current sensor and wireless telemetry systems. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 102B: 885–895, 2014.

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