Physiological sensor placement and signal transmission device
A garment is used to facilitate the placement of biomedical sensors or other electrodes on the body. The garment is comfortable and allows freedom of movement much like typical clothing. Textile based electrical components are included in the garment which are capable of transmitting an electrical signal to and from various external electrodes placed on the body. A textile based EMI shield protects the signals from electromagnetic interference. The garment may take any form such as a vest, sports bra, long sleeve shirt, bonnet, or other form and may provide access to an electrode placement site without requiring removal of the garment.
1. Technical Field
The present disclosure relates to the monitoring and transmission of electrical signals for medical purposes. In particular the disclosure relates to a garment capable of transmitting electrical signals such as biopotential signals from ECG electrodes.
2. Background of Related Art
Electrocardiograph (ECG) monitors and recorders are widely used to obtain medical signals containing information indicative of the electrical activity associated with the heart and pulmonary system. To obtain these biopotential signals, electrodes are applied to the skin of a patient or other subject in various locations and coupled to an ECG monitor. The number of electrodes applied and placement locations of the electrodes are dependant on the type of information sought by the clinician.
Conventional electrocardiography protocols have established several standard lead configurations for the placement of ECG electrodes on the subject's skin. A standard 3-lead configuration, for example, requires the placement of three electrodes; one adjacent to each clavicle bone on the upper chest and a third adjacent to the lower left abdomen. A standard 12-lead configuration requires the placement of ten electrodes; six are placed at various locations on the patient's chest near the heart, and four are placed to represent each of the subject's limbs. The right leg electrode is typically designated as the ground, and twelve measurements are then taken from the ten electrodes. These measurements include six measurements from the six chest electrodes, three measurements of the difference in potential between two limbs, and three measurements of the difference between the potential at one limb and the average of the potentials at two other limbs. In addition to the 3-lead and 12-lead configurations, other standard configurations have been developed. The most prevalent among these are the 5-lead and 7-lead configurations.
Once placed on the skin of the subject, electrodes are normally connected to a lead set which is then connected to an ECG monitor. The ECG monitor receives the biopotential signals from the body and processes the data such that the information can be interpreted by a clinician. The quality of information produced is dependant on several factors. Among these are the proper placement of the electrodes, consistent placement of the electrodes relative to one another and proper connection of the lead set to the proper electrodes.
A clinician may find it cumbersome to make the proper connections with a lead set involving many wires which often tangle, and may find it difficult to determine exactly which individual wire is to be connected at which point. Also, a subject will often experience discomfort while connected to a traditional lead set. The subject's movement may be limited and the wires may cause some skin irritation.SUMMARY
There is a need for an apparatus to alleviate some of the difficulties involved with a traditional ECG lead set. Accordingly, the present disclosure is directed to an apparatus for facilitating the connection of a biomedical electrode array to a monitoring, diagnostic, or stimulating device. The apparatus includes a garment member that may be positioned on a body portion of a subject. At least one signal transmission pathway is formed in the garment member and includes a conductive thread passed through the garment member to connect the signal transmission pathway to the garment member. The signal transmission pathway has a first end connectable to a biomedical electrode a second end connectable to a monitoring, diagnostic, or stimulating device. The signal transmission pathway is adapted for transmitting signals between the biomedical electrode and the monitoring, diagnostic or stimulating device.
Developments in electrically conductive fibers and textiles have made it possible to incorporate a variety of electronics including, as will be discussed herein, signal transmission pathways directly into wearable clothing. Metallic fibers with a very low resistance to electrical current may be woven into otherwise non-conductive fabrics allowing the fibers to be individually addressed like the wires in a cable. These conductive fibers may carry data signals or power and allow for the connection of traditional electrical components by conventional means. Furthermore, traditional stitching techniques such as embroidery may be used with electrically conductive threads to create electrical traces. Some of these devices may even be designed to withstand the stress of laundering.
The present disclosure describes a garment providing a means for the simple connection to externally placed physiological sensors on the human body that can transmit electronic signals to and from the body. The garment is also equipped with an EMI shield which protects the signal transmission pathways from the interference associated with electromagnetic fields. The garment is either disposable or washable.
The garment includes a comfort layer which is described as the garment member herein. The garment member provides a substrate or a canvas to which conductive thread, connectors, adapters, an EMI shield or other components may be affixed. Connectors are provided at various locations on the garment member which provide a connection means to physiological sensors or other externally placed electrodes on the body. The connectors are electrically attached to signal transmission pathways formed from a conductive thread stitched into the garment member. The signal transmission pathways lead to an adapter or adapters which provide a connection means to external monitoring or stimulating equipment. Finally, the signal transmission pathways are covered on the interior and exterior surface of the garment member by an EMI shield formed from a wearable fabric.
In one embodiment, the garment member takes the form of a vest or shirt which may be worn during ECG monitoring. Conductive thread is stitched into the garment member in a pattern that allows biopotential signals from standard 3, 5, 7, or 12-lead configurations to be transmitted to an adapter at the waist of the subject. The signal transmission pathways are stitched in a pattern such that each pathway is isolated from the others and each pathway is covered by a fabric based EMI shield. The garment member is made from a light weight material such as cotton or polyester providing the subject with comfort and ease of movement without undue pulling on the sensor sites.
In another embodiment, the garment member takes the form of a full length sports bra. This embodiment naturally lifts the breasts and allows a clinician to correctly place electrode leads in the area underneath the breasts. Another embodiment is a bonnet worn over the head to obtain electroencephalography (EEG) signals. Still another embodiment is a shirt with full length sleeves. This embodiment allows for sensors such as pulse oximetry probes, temperature probes and glucose monitors to be placed on the hands and wrists.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the present disclosure and, together with the detailed description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the disclosure.
The attached figures illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure and are referenced to describe the embodiments depicted therein. Hereinafter, the disclosure will be described in detail by explaining the figures wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views.
The exemplary embodiments of the apparatus disclosed herein are discussed in terms of performing a diagnostic or therapeutic procedure involving collecting or delivering electrical signals relative to a subject. Such procedures are inclusive of, but, not limited to electrocardiograph procedures, maternal and/or fetal monitoring, and a variety of signal based rehabilitative procedures. However, it is envisioned that the present disclosure may be employed with many applications including surgical, diagnostic, and related treatments of diseases and body ailments of a subject.
In the discussion that follows, the term “subject” refers to a human patient or other animal. The term “clinician” refers to a doctor, nurse, or other care provider and may include support personnel.
Referring initially to
The leads 131 of the connectors 130 may be attached to the first ends of signal transmission pathways 120 by stitching the leads onto the garment member 100 using a conductive thread. As used herein, the term “stitching” includes any type of sewing or needlework in which a flexible fiber or bundle of fibers is passed through a substrate connecting the fiber or bundle of fibers to the substrate. This includes embroidery, needle-punching and the like. Here, the leads are stitched to the garment member 100 with a conductive thread to ensure electrical continuity with the conductive thread. This may be the only means by which the connector is affixed to the garment member. Alternatively, additional non-conductive stitching or other conventional means may be used in combination. The conductive stitching is continued in a direction toward the adapter 110 to form the signal transmission pathway 120. The stitching for the signal transmission pathway 120 may take the form of a zig-zag stitch where the conductive thread is shifted laterally with respect to the general direction of the pathway as shown in
The conductive thread used can be any number of materials commonly used in the garment industry for decorative purposes containing conductive media such as silver, copper, nickel, and carbon. Commercially available products include a variety of threads with the flexibility, durability and low electrical resistance which are suitable for creating a signal transmission pathway 120.
Referring now to
As indicated in
Referring now to
Other embodiments of the present invention include a bonnet worn over the head to obtain EEG signals, a shirt with full length sleeves allowing for sensors such as pulse oximetry probes, temperature probes and glucose monitors to be placed on the hands and wrists, or even a simple substantially flat patch which may be affixed anywhere on the body with an appropriate strap or adhesive. Any of these embodiments may include a fabric tab disposed within the adapter which is long enough when extended to allow the garment to be plugged into external equipment. Alternatively, an OEM equipment cable may be disposed within the adapter.
Referring now to
Each signal transmission pathway 420 terminates at a connector 430, 433 on the interior of the garment 400. Each shoulder of garment 400 is shown broken to reveal the interior space containing the connector 430, 433. Connector 430 is simply formed as a minor lead segment by continuing conductive thread 422 a relatively short distance on the interior of garment 400. A connector 430 in this form facilitates laundering of the garment 400 and may be reinforced to withstand repeated laundering. Alternatively, connector 433 may be provided in the form of an alligator clip as shown. The alligator clip has a lead stitched onto garment 400 with the end of the conductive tread 422 forming the signal transmission pathway. A snap connector or any other convenient type of connector may be used for facilitating electrical coupling with a biomedical electrode such as the ECG electrodes depicted in
Also depicted in
A traditional prior art electrode array 590, as depicted in
Although the foregoing disclosure has been described in some detail by way of illustration and example, for purposes of clarity or understanding, it will be obvious that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims.
1. An apparatus for facilitating connection of a biomedical electrode array having one or more electrodes to a monitoring, diagnostic, or stimulating device, which comprises:
- a garment member for positioning relative to a body portion of a subject;
- at least one signal transmission pathway including a conductive thread stitched into the garment member such that the conductive thread is passed through the garment member to connect the signal transmission pathway to the garment member, the at least one signal transmission pathway having a first end connectable to an electrode and a second end connectable to the monitoring, diagnostic, or stimulating device, the at least one signal transmission pathway adapted for transmitting signals between the electrode and the monitoring, diagnostic, or stimulating device.
2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the electrode is an ECG electrode.
3. The apparatus according to claim 1 including a plurality of signal transmission pathways stitched into the garment member for transmitting signals between respective electrodes and the monitoring, diagnostic or stimulating device.
4. The apparatus according to claim 3 including a connector associated with the first end of each of the signal transmission pathways for connection to a respective electrode.
5. The apparatus according to claim 4 wherein at least one connector is in the form of a minor lead segment.
6. The apparatus according to claim 4 wherein at least one connector is in the form of an alligator clip.
7. The apparatus according to claim 1 including an adapter associated with the second ends of the signal transmission pathways, the adapter for electrical connection to the monitoring, diagnostic or stimulating device.
8. The apparatus according to claim 7 including a tab connected to the second ends of the signal transmission pathways, the tab adapted for electrical connection to the adapter.
9. The apparatus according to claim 1 including an EMI shield layer mounted adjacent the garment member and at least partially enclosing the signal transmission pathways.
10. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein the EMI shield layer is affixed to the garment member.
11. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the garment member includes at least one flap, the flap movable to permit access to an electrode positioned adjacent thereto.
12. The apparatus according to claim 11 including a connector mounted to the flap and in electrical connection with the first end of one of the plurality of signal transmission pathways, the connector for connection to the electrode.
13. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the garment member is a shirt or vest adapted for placement about the subject's torso.
14. An apparatus for connection to a biomedical electrode array having a plurality of biomedical electrodes, which comprises;
- a garment member for positioning relative to a body portion of a subject;
- a plurality of signal transmission pathways, each pathway including a conductive thread stitched into the garment member such that the conductive thread is passed through the garment member to connect the signal transmission pathway to the garment member, and each pathway adapted to transmit an electrical signal;
- a plurality of electrode connectors mounted relative to the garment member and electrically coupled with respective signal transmission pathways, the electrode connectors adapted for connection to respective biomedical electrodes positionable on the subject; and
- an adapter for electrically coupling the signal transmission pathways to an external monitoring or stimulating device.
Filed: Sep 28, 2007
Publication Date: Apr 2, 2009
Inventor: Kathleen Tremblay (Westfield, MA)
Application Number: 11/904,754
International Classification: A61B 5/0402 (20060101);