More than 6 million adult patients in the U.S. have heart failure, a progressive condition that prevents the heart from pumping an adequate supply of blood to the body. Treatment typically includes medication, which must be adjusted as the patient’s condition changes. The sooner that changes can be detected, the sooner adjustments can be made. If adjustments are made early enough, you can avoid potentially life-threatening complications. As a result, constant monitoring can be the key to tracking a patient’s condition.

Some current solutions rely on an implanted sensor that requires a surgical procedure. Not all patients qualify for this invasive approach. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have developed a sensor belt designed to monitor heart failure patients. It tracks ECG, heart rate, and physical motion, along with thoracic impedance which is a critical measure to monitor fluid build-up.

The belt can be worn during normal daily activities. It has been tested while subjects were seated, standing, lying down, and walking. It is designed to be worn for long periods of time. The combination of measures can give clinicians a more complete picture of the patient’s current condition and the progress of the heart failure symptoms.

Closer monitoring of heart failure patients can have a big impact on a patient’s quality of life, as well as on healthcare costs. Currently, one in four patients is readmitted within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. Decreasing hospital readmissions can save significant expenses that could be avoided.