Low-cost device breaks new ground in heart disease diagnosis
By Ghenis Carlos Silva*
A device developed at the Ufes Telecommunications Laboratory (LabTel), in partnership with the Center for Research, Innovation and Development, promises to innovate in the diagnosis of heart disease. The POFWave detects the heart pulse wave, the speed and the patient’s heartbeats, and from that, evaluates the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Because it is an easy-to-handle device, it will be possible to perform a self-examination, ruling out the need for clinical interventions. From measuring the pressure at two different points of the patient, it is possible to obtain the delay in the beat, evidencing the presence of arterial stiffness. This, in turn, is an indicator of the risk of stroke or heart attacks.
The sensor has polymeric optical fibers, which allow immunity against electromagnetic interference and greater speed in system operation. That is, it will be possible to measure the pulse during the MRI scan, unlike devices already on the market.
In addition, the sensor is low cost, having its entire mechanical part printed on a 3D printer in the Laboratory.
“When we apply the sensor in contact with the patient’s skin, the pulse causes a power variation in the light reflected to the sensors, making it possible to detect the heart wave. The evaluation of the velocity of this pulse plays an important role in the diagnosis of arterial aging, acting as a preventive factor for more serious complications”, explains the student from the Graduate Program in Electrical Engineering at Ufes (PPGEE) and responsible for the project, Weliton Marques.
In the first tests, which took place with a simulation of heartbeats and arterial pulse, the device was able to obtain data at different distances, speeds and pressure values.
“After validating this battery of bench tests, the sensor will undergo further evaluations, this time on people. Thus, we are going to compare the developed sensor with other devices on the market to attest to its functionality”, says Marques.
The research is the result of a partnership between LabTel (Ufes), the Innovation and Development Research Center of Espírito Santo (CPID) and the i3N Laboratory of the University of Aveiro in Portugal. The project also has the support of the Espírito Santo Research Support Foundation (Fapes), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).