Vital signs in three dimensions

2019-03-08 01:04:15

By Kurt Kleiner in Washington DC A MONITORING system that lets doctors take in many of a patient’s vital signs at a glance is being developed at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. The new system collects and analyses information such as heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels from a number of different sensors, and displays it as a three-dimensional image. “A lot of information is already available electronically. This is a way to get the information at a glance,” says William Hanson, an anaesthetist leading the team. At the moment, doctors have to look at separate monitors to get all this information and then correlate it mentally. Instead, Hanson is routing all information through a single computer program and displaying it as a 3D chart for periods ranging from an hour to a week. He is also using artificial intelligence techniques to make diagnosis easier. In one study, Hanson’s team collected data on the pulmonary artery occlusion pressure, heart rate and cardiac output of 10 patients. By using neural network software, the program was able to learn the best combination of these factors for individual patients and alert doctors if the indicators moved too far from the ideal. Hanson has also designed a “smart” intravenous pump: if blood pressure gets too low,