This project will develop non-contact wireless technology that detects the breathing movements of a human chest while covered with pajamas and bed covers. This technology would be a significant improvement to methods used in point of care monitoring outside of a sleep lab. Typical methods of breathing monitoring for a sleep study rely on chest effort belts. Doing point of care sleep studies outside of a sleep lab with body worn sensors are very problematic. In a sleep lab, a technician can adjust sensor placement during the night on a sleeping patient. At home, a point of care sleep study needs to work through the whole night regardless of what a restless patient might do to the sensors there are wearing. A non-contact wireless technology for point of care sleep studies could greatly improve both the success of sleep studies at home and the comfort to the patient. The need is particularly great for sleep studies in children. An increasing number of children are experiencing sleep disorders due the rise in childhood obesity. Children can be less compliant with body worn sleep study sensors. The phase I project will develop a non-contact breathing monitoring system. Algorithms will be developed to optimize detection of breathing signals. A pilot human study will be performed to evaluate the accuracy of the proposed system.

Public Health Relevance

An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, which is often associated with people who are overweight. As a person gains weight, especially in the trunk and neck area, the risk of sleep-disordered breathing increases due to compromised respiratory function. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which represents the great majority of the cases, when left untreated can lead to high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. OSA is also associated with type 2 diabetes and depression and is a factor in many traffic accidents and accidents with heavy machinery, owing to the persistent drowsiness suffered by many OSA patients before the disease is recognized and treated. OSA is still markedly under-diagnosed, as evidenced by the persistent presentation of late-stage cardiovascular complications in obese individuals newly diagnosed with sleep apnea. Sleep study labs exist in most all major American cities, However the constantly increase in obese American drives the need for easier to use home point of care technology to diagnose sleep apnea.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1)
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Twery, Michael
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Innovative Design Labs, Inc.
United States
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