Wearable shunt monitor
Skin sensor could prevent unnecessary surgeries, radiation
- Life-threatening hydrocephalus is an excess fluid build-up in the brain
- Catheter or ‘shunt’ drains fluid from the brain; nearly all shunts fail over time
- Within five minutes, skin sensor can monitor shunt function
- Patient: ‘I’m trying to live a normal life and I really can’t because of the headaches’
- Hydrocephalus costs the U.S. health care system about $1 billion per year to treat
Meet the researchers
Siddharth Krishnan, Co-lead author
Fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Rogers Research Group at Northwestern University
Krishnan can speak to media about the evolution of the device, its mechanics, how it works, how it was translated for patient care and how it is being tested in clinical trials.
Dr. Amit Ayer, Co-lead author
Sixth-year neurosurgery resident at Northwestern Medicine and MBA student at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern
Has treated Willie’s hydrocephalus for the last four years.
Ayer can speak to media about hydrocephalus, what causes it, who it affects, how it is currently treated and what could happen to a patient if left untreated. Ayer can also speak about how this device could revolutionize current hydrocephalus shunt diagnostics and cut costs and risks for patients and their families. Additionally, Ayer can speak about how the authors are working on outsourced production on the scale of a few hundred sensors to support this study and further develop the technology.
Dr. Matthew Potts, Co-senior author
Assistant professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician
Potts can speak to media about hydrocephalus, what causes it, who it affects, how it is currently treated and what could happen to a patient if left untreated. Additionally, he can speak about how this device could revolutionize current hydrocephalus shunt diagnostics and cut costs and risks for patients and their families.
John A. Rogers, Co-senior author
Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery in the McCormick School of Engineering and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Rogers can give a concise overview as to how the sensor advances concepts in skin-like "epidermal electronics," which his research group, the Rogers Research Group, has been working on for nearly a decade.
Additionally, he can speak to media about the evolution of the device, its mechanics, how it works, how it was translated for patient care, how it is being tested in clinical trials and how they are outsourcing production on the scale of a few hundred sensors to support this study and further develop the technology.
Wearable shunt monitor bends and flexes like a Band-Aid.
Band-aid-like wearable shunt monitor, as seen on woman's neck
Inside look at wearable shunt monitor, as seen on a woman's neck
Wearable thermal array, as seen off the skin
Close-up view of wearable thermal array temperature sensors
Wearable thermal array sensor on skin
Dr. Ayer holds shunt in operating room
Functional shunt protruding from the brain during surgery
Researchers and lab b-roll
Credit: Rogers Research Group, Northwestern University
Caption: Data visualization highlighting the operation of the wearable thermal array as recorded during a live measurement. In this video, the epidermal device integrates conformally onto the skin at a location with an implanted catheter (a "shunt") to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid in patients suffering from hydrocephalus.
This sensor pre-dates the Band-Aid-like wearable shunt monitor sensor the authors used in the clinical trial. The materials and thermal physics insights gained from this type of sensor allowed the study authors to refine this design into a much simpler platform suitable for clinical use and wireless integration.
The device uses an array of 100 precision temperature sensors to thermally map this location to detect characteristic heat signatures associated with fluid flow to quantitatively assess in a noninvasive manner how well the shunt is working.
Willie Meyer's diagnosis story, 190 surgeries
How this device moves the field forward -- Siddharth Krishnan
Broad overview of shunt malfunction, why this device is powerful -- Dr. Matthew Potts
Brief overview of device -- John A. Rogers
Overview of shunt monitoring, surgeries and how device is novel -- Dr. Amit Ayer
Reading takes only five minutes -- Siddharth Krishnan