This proposed project aims to develop technology that facilitates care of infants that are typically in transition from a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The focus of this technology is to monitor the conditions associated with chronic lung disease of infancy (CLDI), a group of respiratory diseases that usually evolves from an acute respiratory disorder experienced by a newborn infant. Advances in perinatal care, changes in health care economics, and research suggesting a negative impact of prolonged hospitalization on development of the preterm newborn have influenced discharge practices for infants with CLDI. The home environment has increasingly been recognized as the optimal setting for medically stable, technology assisted infants to receive the complex and demanding care they require. Infants in the NICU are commonly connected to multiple pieces of equipment and monitors. While this lifesaving technology is a necessary part of providing care to these infants, the many wires can also add to the complexity of caring for these infants, particularly in a home environment with untrained personnel. Very recent advances in electronic components allow miniature wireless medical instrumentation to be developed that are of a size and weight appropriate for a wearable neonate application. The phase I program will develop wireless instrumentation. A clinical study is planned for phase II.
Chronic lung disease of infancy (CLDI) is a group of pulmonary disorders that start in the neonatal period. Often the inciting factor is bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic condition that usually evolves after premature birth and respiratory distress syndrome due to surfactant deficiency. BPD is the most common pulmonary morbidity in preterm infants and affects approximately 5,000 to 10,000 infants in the United States each year