(1) BioMediTech and Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland
(2) CutoSense Ltd., Turku, Finland
Hard-to-heal wounds inflict a significant economic burden on the healthcare system and individual patients. Assessment of hard-to-heal wounds is primarily based on visual inspection and measuring the size of the wound. Visual evaluation is a subjective indicator and in order to evaluate the wound, the dressings must be removed.
We have developed a quantitative method and measurement system for monitoring hard-to-heal wounds. With the method, it is possible to obtain objective information of the wound status without removing the wound dressings, thus significantly reducing material and worktime related costs.
The method is based on sensing the inherent electrical conductivity difference between the wound and the unaffected tissue using quasimonopolar bioimpedance measurement. The measurement system consists of an electrode dressing which is incorporated of a high moldable and perforated film-like substrate with screen printed electrodes in an array formation, a small size bioimpedance measurement device and an analysis software for portable devices. The array is used for impedance mapping the wound area and can also be applied for delivering electrical stimulation to promote healing.
We have conducted a number of pre-clinical and clinical studies to evaluate the feasibility of the developed method. The studies have involved both acute and chronic wounds. The results indicate that the bioimpedance based method is a capable tool for monitoring of wound healing.