Nav: Home

Nevada company, ORNL develop potential lifesaver

December 20, 2007

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 20, 2007 -- A Las Vegas business and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving the odds for people medically at risk from dehydration or congestive heart failure.

The task for ORNL researchers Chuck Britton, Nance Ericson and Gary Alley was to improve and miniaturize Noninvasive Medical Technologies' ZOE, a medical device that monitors a person's hydration, or level of fluid. This is of great importance to members of the military and to thousands of home health care patients, athletes, firefighters and first responders.

"Technologies that allow for better hydration management will improve performance, medical triage and treatment of soldiers and others who are suffering from a fluid-electrolyte imbalance," said Katy DeMarr, vice president, government relations of Noninvasive Medical Technologies.

As basic as it may seem for people to maintain proper levels of fluid, in practice it is not so simple as nationwide each year hundreds of people either die or suffer ill effects because of dehydration.

"Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of troops become dehydrated while performing their duties, and that's a major concern to the military because the soldiers are not able to perform at peak levels," DeMarr said. "Similarly, high school and college athletes would benefit greatly from knowing their hydration levels."

While Noninvasive Medical Technologies has a ZOE on the market, used primarily in home health care applications, the company's goal was to improve upon the product by making it more robust, smaller, less expensive and able to be monitored remotely.

DeMarr said her company sought out ORNL because of its expertise and stellar reputation in the areas of chip design. The project has progressed rapidly as Britton and Ericson, members of the lab's Engineering Science and Technology Division, began work about a year ago and clinical trials for the new device were completed last month.

"Our key contributions were to reduce the system to an integrated circuit, or chip, to reduce the amount of power needed to operate the unit and to lower the cost," Ericson said.

"Before we could do that, however, as a team we had to better understand the product as a circuit that has to operate in a wide range of temperatures yet maintain a high degree of accuracy," Britton said.

The ZOE Fluid Status Monitor measures thoracic base impedance, which is a measurement of the electric current traveling from the top to the bottom of the thorax. This is accomplished by placing one electrode at the top and another at the bottom of the breastbone. The less resistance - measured in ohms - the more fluid in the chest. The normal range for people is between 19 ohms and 30 ohms. Values lower than 19 indicate that a person may be overhydrated while values exceeding 30 indicate dehydration.

"The measurement is a quick and easy method to determine whether a person is experiencing fluid congestion or dehydration," DeMarr said. "Studies have shown that Zo, or the base resistance, is an early predictor of congestion in heart failure, showing decreases as early as two weeks prior to weight gain and other symptoms."

A wearable wireless version of the ZOE instrument, ZOEwi, will allow monitoring during activity and is planned for market introduction in 2008, according to Jeremy Copeland, vice president of marketing for Noninvasive Medical Technologies.
-end-
UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy. This work was funded by Noninvasive Medical Technologies (http://nmtinc.org/) and the Air Force Surgeon General's Office.

NOTE TO EDITORS: You may read other press releases from Oak Ridge National Laboratory or learn more about the lab at http://www.ornl.gov/news.

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Heart Failure Articles:

New hope for treating heart failure
Heart failure patients who are getting by on existing drug therapies can look forward to a far more effective medicine in the next five years or so, thanks to University of Alberta researchers.
Activated T-cells drive post-heart attack heart failure
Chronic inflammation after a heart attack can promote heart failure and death.
ICU care for COPD, heart failure and heart attack may not be better
Does a stay in the intensive care unit give patients a better chance of surviving a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure flare-up or even a heart attack, compared with care in another type of hospital unit?
Tissue engineering advance reduces heart failure in model of heart attack
Researchers have grown heart tissue by seeding a mix of human cells onto a 1-micron-resolution scaffold made with a 3-D printer.
Smoking may lead to heart failure by thickening the heart wall
Smokers without obvious signs of heart disease were more likely than nonsmokers and former smokers to have thickened heart walls and reduced heart pumping ability.
After the heart attack: Injectable gels could prevent future heart failure (video)
During a heart attack, clots or narrowed arteries block blood flow, harming or killing cells in the heart.
Heart failure after first heart attack may increase cancer risk
People who develop heart failure after their first heart attack have a greater risk of developing cancer when compared to first-time heart attack survivors without heart failure, according to a study today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Scientists use 'virtual heart' to model heart failure
A team of researchers have created a detailed computational model of the electrophysiology of congestive heart failure, a leading cause of death.
Increase in biomarker linked with increased risk of heart disease, heart failure, death
In a study published online by JAMA Cardiology, Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues examined the association of six-year change in high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T with incident coronary heart disease, heart failure and all-cause mortality.
1 in 4 patients develop heart failure within 4 years of first heart attack
One in four patients develop heart failure within four years of a first heart attack, according to a study in nearly 25,000 patients presented today at Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr.

Related Heart Failure Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".