Researchers have successfully tested an ingestible device that can monitor vital signs such as heart rate and breathing from inside humans. This device, which is in the form of a pill, has the potential to provide accessible and convenient care to individuals at risk of suffering from an opioid overdose.
In a clinical trial involving human participants, the ingestible pill was initially tested in pigs before being tested on humans with sleep apnea. The results showed that the pill can accurately detect when participants’ breathing stops and monitor their respiratory rate with 92.7% accuracy. Additionally, it can monitor heart rate with an accuracy rate of at least 96%. The device is also safe and is excreted by all participants within a few days of the experiment.
According to Giovanni Traverso, the first author of the study and a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham Women’s Hospital (USA), these devices could provide patients with easier access to healthcare and supportive treatment. These small ingestible devices are easy to use and do not require surgical procedures like implantable devices such as pacemakers. In fact, doctors have been using ingestible pill-sized chambers for colonoscopies without requiring any invasive procedures.
The vital signs monitoring pill, or VM pill, works by detecting small vibrations in the body associated with breathing and heartbeat. It functions by detecting if a person stops breathing from inside the digestive tract. Furthermore, there are modifications that could be made to these devices in the future that would allow them to stay in longer for long-term monitoring.
In addition to monitoring vital signs, researchers hope to upgrade this device in the future so that it can automatically deliver medications to reverse conditions such as opioid overdose once it detects symptoms.
Overall, this ingestible device has significant potential for improving healthcare outcomes for individuals at risk of suffering from an opioid overdose or other medical conditions that require constant monitoring of vital signs.