HOUSTON - There's a small patch that can closely monitor you for serious COVID-19 symptoms.
It's called a VitalPatch, and it has been used in the Houston area to monitor heart problems. But it does a lot more than that, so the Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked it to monitor COVID-19 symptoms.
Peter Van Haur, CEO of the maker of the patch VitalConnect, hopes it will help ease the hospital load.
Let's face it, it can be scary to go through a disease like COVID-19 at home and not know if, or when, you should seek help from a hospital. Van Haur says the VitalPatch can take the guesswork out of it for patients and physicians. The patch is about the size of a band aid, and patients can apply it themselves, over their heart.
"Within this biosensor that's the size of a dime, we have miniaturized the experience of the intensive care unit. So a patient can be in their home, or some other remote area, and we can transmit the key vital signs of a patient back to a caregiver," explains Van Haur.
This is done through Bluetooth technology, and Van Haur says it has a sophisticated algorithm that can detect 22-different types of arrhythmia's, or irregular heartbeats (including atrial fibrillation), plus all of the other major symptoms of COVID-19.
"Why the FDA fast-tracked this, is for the following reason: we're the only remote patient monitoring technology that can do two very important things for COVID-19. Separate the patient from the healthcare system: monitoring for respiratory, temperature, and Sp02 (which is the measurement of oxygen in a patient's bloodstream), but simultaneously monitoring the patient's heart. COVID-19 is as much a cardiac virus, as it is a respiratory virus. Secondarily, these drugs that are being used to treat it, including Hydroxychloroquine, whether you believe that it works or doesn't, the one thing we do know is being used quite a bit across the US, and this drug has a side effect of what's known as a prolonged QT interval, which is a fancy name for irregular heartbeat, and this can be fatal. Our technology has the ability to monitor for that fatal irregular heartbeat," says Van Haur.
The VitalPatch is already in Houston and its maker plans to ship more here.
"Our technology is actually used at Houston Methodist center, among other offices that are associated with that very well-known and great healthcare system," states Van Haur.
Van Haur says a patient can shower with it. The patch can be worn for one week at a time, so most COVID-19 patients would need two patches, and then patients can just throw the patch away.
"We've been able to manufacture this in a green scenario, and it's very environmentally friendly, and we just dispose of the technology after its use," states Van Haur.
You would need a prescription for the patch.
For more information, head to https://vitalconnect.com/solutions/vitalpatch