Non-contact Mobile Oximeter for Rapid Birth Asphyxia and Childhood Pneumonia Assessment

Massachusetts General Hospital
Organization Location: 
Boston, MA, USA

Oxygen saturation (SO2) is known as the 5th vital sign - a simple yet important reading strongly associated with various deadly neonatal complications during birth or postnatal care, including birth asphyxia and childhood pneumonia. Affordable oximeters are nearly non-existent in most first-level clinics where the majority of mothers and babies are initially treated - even present in some tertiary facilities, they are not suited for newborns due to a clip design and requirement of constant disinfection which is not realistic in the resource-poor regions. In this project, we will develop a mobile phone oximeter attachment that can measure tissue oxygenation without touching the body. This makes it a valuable add on to the pocket of a community healthcare worker in a resource-poor country, helping him/her quickly identify sick children and allocate extremely limited resources to save their lives. Even oxygen saturation is routinely measured in most healthcare facilities in the developed countries, such assessment is nearly impossible for most infants in the resource-poor countries. The high acquisition and long-term maintenance costs of a commercial pulse oximeter make it a less favorable choice for such an environment. The recent low cost solutions, including the ~$20 standalone finger clip pulse-oximeter and the Phone Oximeter approaches are designed primarily for adults, making them difficult to apply to an infant or maintain hygiene when reused in a busy clinic with scant disinfectant supplies. Our non-contact mobile oximeter fills these blanks by bringing robust oxygenation monitoring to newborns and infants and has low long-term maintenance cost.

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