Principal investigator: Professor Dan Bader, University of Southampton.
Project start year: 2018
Co-investigators: Dr Peter Worsley & Dr Luciana Bostan - University of Southampton.
Other partners: Professor Steve Morgan - University of Nottingham; Professor Steve Jeffery - Birmingham City University; Mrs Siobhan McCoulough - OSKA Ltd.
Combining physiological sensing and biomarkers with intelligent support surfaces for closed loop prevention of chronic wounds.
The treatment of chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot, leg and pressure ulcers, represent a major burden to both the NHS and those affected with the condition. Indeed its financial burden has been estimated at approximately £5 billion per annum. Therefore the prevention of these chronic wounds via early detection of at risk individuals, represents a major challenge to healthcare organisations. Several monitoring technologies are available to detect changes in skin response to loading, involving an array of physical and biochemical markers, which can inform the effectiveness of intervention strategies for prevention.
The proposed research aims to provide an early detection system allied to an intelligent prevention strategy for pressure ulcer prevention, which will be evaluated with small cohorts of at-risk individuals. New and existing sensing technologies will provide distinct thresholds of physiological parameters, particularly involving CO2 sensing and biomarker concentrations, which could inform the effectiveness of both preventative measures and therapeutic interventions.
An intelligent active control system used in conjunction with the local support surfaces in contact with the skin will provide the platform for a closed-loop intervention. The surface, with for example periodic turning or alternating air pressure capability, will react to the physiological status of the skin and off-load vulnerable sites until complete physiological recovery has been achieved. Continual physiological monitoring and surface adaptation will provide the means for sustained postures, which are typically adopted in the hospital and community settings.