A new high-tech bracelet, developed by scientists from the Netherlands, detects 85 percent of all serious seizures at night. This is much better than any other available technology. Researchers involved believe that this bracelet, called Nightwatch, can reduce the number of unexpected deaths in the night in patients with epilepsy. They published the results of a prospective test in the journal Neurology.
SUDEP, a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, is a major cause of mortality in patients with epilepsy. Persons with intellectual disability and severely resistant to epilepsy can even have a 20% risk of dying from epilepsy. Although there are several techniques to monitor patients at night, many attacks are still losing.
Consortium researchers have developed a bracelet that recognizes two key features of serious attacks: an unusually fast heartbeat and rhythmically rocket movements. In these cases, the bracelet will send a wireless alert to carers or nurses.
The research team looked into the Nightwatch bracelet in 28 patients with epileptic mental disability, averaging 65 nights per patient. The bracelet was limited to an alarm in the event of a serious crisis. The patients were also shot to check for false alarms or attacks that Nightwatch might have lost. This comparison shows that the bracelet detected 85 percent of all serious insults and 96 percent of the most severe (tonic-clonic spasms), which is particularly high.
For comparison purposes, the current detection standard, a bed sensor that reacts to vibrations due to rhythmic spasmodules, was tested simultaneously. This marked only 21% of the serious attacks. On average, the bed sensor remained too silent once every 4 nights per patient. Nightwatch, on the other hand, lost only one serious attack per patient once every 25 nights on average. In addition, the patients were not very annoyed by the bracelet and the care staff were also positive for the use of the bracelet.
These results indicate that the bracelet works well, says neurologist and senior researcher Prof. Dr. Johan Arends. Nightwatch can now be widely used among adults, both in institutions and at home. Arends expects this to reduce the number of SUDEP cases by two-thirds, although it also depends on how quickly and adequately the care of providers or unofficial carers responds to alerts. If applied globally, it can save thousands of lives.
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Materials provided by Eindhoven University of Technology. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.