This sensor detects organ failure at an early stage

A wearable ultrasound sticker could help to recognise the first signs of acute liver or kidney failure at an early stage.

the newly developed ultrasound patch sticks on an arm

A research team at MIT in Cambridge (USA) has developed an ultrasound sticker that monitors the functionality of organs. It is designed to detect signs of diseases and tumours. The focus is particularly on organ stiffness which is one of the most obvious symptoms.

The sensor, which is the size of a postage stamp, sends sound waves through the skin into the body, where the waves are reflected by the organs and travel back to the sticker. The pattern of the waves provides information about the stiffness. The faster a wave propagates in an organ, the stiffer it is.

Sensor should also work at home

In initial experiments, the team tested the sticker on rats. It is now working with doctors to adapt the sticker to humans - especially patients recovering from an organ transplant.

During standard ultrasound examinations, they have to hold a probe to their body. This is impossible over a longer period of time and organ failure could be recognised too late. The sticker, on the other hand, would provide constant monitoring over 48 hours.

The researchers also want to further develop the sticker into an even more portable version in which the electronics fit into a slightly larger plaster. This would allow patients to wear the sensor at home.

Written by: mh

Photos: MIT

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