Tattoo-Like Sensor Could Provide Continuous Monitoring of Vital Signs

Published in MD+DI online // June 18, 2018

Sometimes a doctor needs to measure his or her patient’s cardiac activity for longer than a brief ECG reading would record. In this instance, a physician might prescribe a Holter monitor to record long-term vital signs during normal physical activity, but these devices can have some drawbacks. They might be bulky to wear and could cause itchiness and skin irritations where they are attached to the body. And they don’t provide information in real time.

Umana Medical Technologies has developed products that aim to make wearing a heart monitor more convenient for patients and offer the ability of being able to transmit information as it occurs. For instance, the T1 system, currently in patient trials in Europe, includes a tattoo sensor, a monitor, and an app that work together to gather and analyze clinical-grade data in real time using advanced algorithms.

Krystle Attard Trevison, the company’s cofounder and director, tells MD+DI that the tattoo sensor uses a specially developed adhesive-like applicator to release its nanomaterial conductive ink directly onto the skin. It does not need conductive gel, and it integrates seamlessly with the top epidermal layer of skin. The sensor can be worn for up to five days if it is not subjected to harsh treatment, such as scrubbing while showering. A protective film helps make the tattoo sensor waterproof and last longer.

The T1 monitor attaches to the sensor, either by the patient for real-time measurements, or by a doctor when in Holter mode, meaning it captures raw data on a microSD card for later retrieval. It weighs less than 17 g and is less than 0.8-mm thick. It is worn passively throughout daily activities and gathers ECG activity to provide heart rate, long-term heart rate, ECG-derived respiratory rate, and constant systolic blood pressure measurements. Abnormalities in ECG are detected, as well as physical activity, including falls, and can inform both patient and another contact person through SMS or email if this occurs.

A patient using the device in monitoring mode can select a medical professional to receive his or her data either through the app during registration or from an online user control center. Medical professionals can apply to be registered in the database through the online control center. All applications are vetted by Umana scientific personnel, and if approved, the applicant will be given access.

Captured and stored data can be retrieved from the monitor using a Bluetooth connection to a tablet, which through an Internet connection uploads it to the cloud where it can be downloaded for processing and analysis. The company is also testing 4G and NFC as future connection technologies.

A hub system is also available, enabling nursing homes to monitor up to 300 patients in real time, from one tablet. “This system makes it very easy for the nurse on duty to monitor all patients at a distance, and if there is an abnormality or a patient falls, our tattoo and monitor would automatically generate a notification on the T1 hub interface and send a text message to a predefined mobile number,” says Attard Trevison, in an interview with MD+DI.

The T1 system is currently being used for investigational purposes in patient trials. It will start shipping to its partners in Portugal, UK, Italy, Malta, and Turkey once CE certification is finalized, which the company expects to be very shortly.

T1 recieves great feedback at Intelligent Health

It was a week of hard work and commitment from our team as we travelled to Basel to participate in the international summit ‘Intelligent Health’ – the world’s leading summit in medical Artificial Intelligence. Umana’s CEO and co-founder Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan delivereda tech talk on Thursday in which he focused on some AI methodologies that the company is currently implementing.Our team had also the opportunity to exhibit the amazing Umana T1 eco system.

From Basel, our CEO said that “the feedback was overwhelming and especially appreciated since we had interest from veterans in the field”.  The summit brought together 7,000 delegates from various fields related to health. Umana is introducing the revolutionary T1 Heart Monitor as its flagship product. This monitor is an unobtrusive remote monitoring system that gathers vital data through the high-tech skin sensor called Smarter Skin.

This Heart Monitor, through the Smarter Skin sensor (very similar to a temporary tattoo), delivers real-time and continuous data measurement and analysis of a number of heart-related activities. The T1 was launched and displayed for the first time in public during the HIMSS conference in Barcelona in May 2018, and even there, an overwhelming amount of support was very evident. This Heart Monitor is being launched through Umana’s partners in Portugal, UK, Italy, Malta and Turkey. Further market entry in EU, Middle East and Asia will come about in the coming months based on ongoing discussions.

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Malta-built wireless ECG monitor enters testing phase

The Times of Malta, November 20, 2017

The University of Malta will next year run a six-month study to test a new type of heart monitor, made by a Maltese company, that will not require the complications of wiring the patient.

The university was chosen to test the efficacy of the 24-hour ECG Holter monitor before it is produced and released onto the medical market.

The new product is a simple patch placed onto the skin with water, explained Victor Grech, the lecturer, pediatrician and cardiologist who will be responsible for the study. A tattoo-like sensor will replace the bulkier Holter monitor and provide all the information doctors need to monitor a patient’s heart over a period of time.

Umana Medical Technologies, a Maltese enterprise, has created a tiny device, the Umana T1, which wirelessly captures and analyses in real-time the cardiac electrical activity (ECG) in a non-invasive manner.

Prof. Grech said the device is attached to a sensor on the skin and monitors the patient’s heartbeat and rhythm, data which it transfers wirelessly to an application that maps the results for doctors to read and interpret.
The fact that the device is wireless means that it is easier to carry out the test on children.

The test is usually run for 24 to 48 hours while the patient goes about their daily routine. The lack of wires will make the results even more precise.

Prof. Grech explained that the Maltese company wants the study to verify the effectiveness of the device and its accuracy compared to the widely-used Holter.
Patients in the test will wear both the Holter and the new device when running the tests so the results can be compared.

“Malta is the ideal place for such a study. Our health system is open to clinical trials and we have the potential to develop into a pharma and MedTech hub,” Prof. Grech told Malta Profile in an interview about other work at the University of Malta.

He told The Sunday Times of Malta: “Our commitment to this can also be seen in our Life Sciences Park, which today hosts lab space and offices. Academics and industry should also look at Malta, because it is easy to conduct long-term, population-based studies here,” he continued.

Asked about the main challenges that medical research faced in Malta, Prof. Grech pointed to excessive bureaucracy and finding people who believe in investing in an idea.

He said the university had developed a course for academics that would help them write and publish a scientific paper. “We are already running this course in London and plan to take it to the Middle East next year,” he said.

“The future is good, because the potential is great. All we need are ideas – generated by industry or academia. I believe Malta can become a hub with global reach if we foster greater cooperation between scientific minds.

“In the short to medium term, Brexit might also turn out to be an opportunity. While the UK’s exit from the EU might lead to difficulties for researchers in the UK in terms of access to EU funds, other EU Member States, including Malta, might benefit.

“Now is a good opportunity to promote Malta as a hub for pharmaceuticals and medical technology solutions,” he added.

Smart Tattoo Sensors poised to revolutionise continuous Vital Signs Monitoring

Company Press Release, April 24, 2018

The measurement of vital signs is critical for medical professionals to be able to assess the general health of patients and detect any possible health deterioration as early as possible. However, standard Holter devices are bulky and uncomfortable for the patient while providing only a snapshot of limited information during the brief time they are worn.

Umana T1 is a new clinical grade solution which addresses these challenges directly by using ground-breaking tattoo sensors made from an almost imperceptible clear film with conductive sensors. Having launched an independent clinical trial with 2000 patients at the national hospital in Malta and working on collaborative projects in Portugal and the United Kingdom, the Umana T1 Heart Monitor will be launched across Europe in May 2018.

Commenting on this innovation, Dr Samuel Meilak, who is coordinating the trial, notes that “our cardiology staff are excited about what the Umana T1 means for our profession and our patients. Finally, we are able to accurately collect and monitor patients’ important medical data without interfering with their day to day activities. The ease of access, coupled with the data analysis capabilities are complete game changers.”

Once the tattoo is applied, a small lightweight device is attached to store and analyse a stream of accurate real-time vital signs such as ECG data as well other vital parameters such as respiration rate. These are than shared directly with a trusted medical professional. This user-friendly setup is completed with an ecosystem of medical software, a smartphone application, online dashboards, data-analysis algorithms, online and offline data access.

Umana Co-Founder & CEO Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan elaborates: “The tattoo sensors represent a giant leap forward for how vital signs can be continuously monitored, but we went even further, creating a comprehensive digital data storage and processing infrastructure to allow medical professionals to get an unprecedented in-depth view and analysis of the patient’s status.”

Umana Medical heads to Barcelona for Health 2.0 Europe 2018

Key members of the Umana team will be attending the HIMSS Conference in Barcelona between the 27 and 29th of May, Europe’s largest event bringing together all stakeholders in the digital health sector, from policy makers, researchers, entrepreneurs, medical health professionals and representative of Primary Health Institutions or hospitals. Such visitors to the conference will have the opportunity to meet the Umana team who will be happy to discuss the ways in which implementation of Umana T1 ensures better quality patient care and will also be exploring potential research collaborations in further developing non-invasive methods for collecting, monitoring and analysing long-term vital parameters.

Maltese company could revolutionise medical investigations with tattoo-like heart sensor

The Malta Independent, 10 September 2017

 

A temporary tattoo based on proprietary technology developed by a Maltese company that monitors a patient’s heart, could revolutionise medical investigations in the future.

Cardiologist Dr Robert Xuereb spoke to The Malta Independent on Sunday about the tattoo-like sensor that could replace the currently used and bulkier Holter monitor, and still provide all the information doctors need to monitor a patient’s heart, over a period of time.

The technology’s developer, Umana Medical Technologies, is a Maltese enterprise, which has been working on the technology for a while now, has created a tiny device, dubbed the ‘Umana T1’ that wirelessly captures and analyses in real-time the cardiac electrical activity (ECG) in a non-invasive manner.

The sensor works by monitoring patients’ heartbeat and heart rhythm and changes. The data is then transferred wirelessly to an application, which can be downloaded on a normal smartphone, through a small flexible interface (the T1 Box) placed on top of the tattoo-like sensor. The app then records and analyses the ECG signal in real-time.

Dr Xuereb spoke about the current system in place, which has been used since the 1990s, a mobile ambulatory system called a Holter monitoring system, which is a rather bulky contraption with electrodes, wires and a large monitor that are not so practical or comfortable in warm climates such as Malta’s. Such monitoring systems are used for stretches of either 24 hours, 48 hours or seven days.

 

Dr Xuereb, who is the Chair of the Department of Cardiology and President of Maltese Cardiac Society, explains, “We need this sort of machinery for patients who, for example, faint and have lost consciousness and we need to know why. If their heart has slowed down, the patient may need a pacemaker. If the heart is beating too fast, it could be there isn’t enough flow to the brain – resulting in loss of consciousness, in which case the patient may need medication. Or there could be other reasons at play.

“With this nice tiny device, it would be much more comfortable, more durable and just easier for the patient in general. This truly opens up new horizons in which patients can monitor their hearts and we can link to the data and analyse it too.”

Dr Xuereb spoke about his team’s next plans with this new piece of technology: “The company approached us as it wants to verify if the device is as accurate as the Holter systems we use now. Therefore, we will be carrying out a study in which patients will have both the Holter and Umana T1 systems and they will be interpreted independently to see how accurate this new device truly is.

“There is more research being done not just in heart monitoring but also for blood pressure monitoring. I truly feel this is the future for cardiology.”

He added, “I think this is the future, more electronics, more computers, more personalised medicine. The time will come when everyone will be running around with a wristwatch able to check heart, blood pressure and what’s going on in our body. This is the future of medicine.”

Dr Xuereb confirmed that heart disease still remains the number one killer in Malta and believes that such medical technology could allow doctors and even patients to detect heart problems earlier and as such be able to treat patients as early as possible.

Scientific Advisory Board for Umana Medical Technologies

Company News, May 2017

 

As part of our ongoing commitment to offer the highest quality medical products with the latest technology, we have formed our first Scientific Advisory Board. This board hails medical experts from the four corners of the world who will work together to ensure that Umana Medical Technologies Team and it’s products follow scientific rigour.

 

The Members are:

 

  • Prof. Paolo Cavallari, Chief Scientific Advisor, Universita’ Degli Studi di Milano
  • Dr Robert Greenbaum, Advisor – Professor of Cardiology, Royal Society of Medicine
  • Prof. Ajay Shah, Advisor – Professor of Cardiology, Kings College
  • Prof Martin Cowie, Advisor – Professor of Cardiology
  • Dr E.Kevin Hall, Advisor – Professor of Cardiology/Digital Health Yale University