Johns Hopkins students develop non-invasive core body temperature sensor

Engineering students at Johns Hopkins have a non-invasive sensor under development that can quickly and […]

Engineering students at Johns Hopkins have a non-invasive sensor under development that can quickly and accurately measure core body temperature (CBT).

The team developed its sensor to help medics assess CBT and quickly understand what’s going on inside the body to make critical treatment decisions. They say that emergency medical services (EMS) providers currently lack a method to accurately measure CBT on the scene or en route to the hospital.

With this sensor, EMS providers could quickly and accurately measure CBT in prehospital settings, according to Johns Hopkins. This would give medics the real-time information they need to start life-saving interventions before or during transit to the hospital.

Third-year students Jack Coursen and Ryan Chou led the “ParaMetric” design team that develops this technology. Lisa Hou, Sun Moon, Betania Arce, Jaden Tepper, Prisha Rathi and Adam Kleshchelski all worked on the project, too.

“The current gold standard methods for obtaining core body temperatures in prehospital settings are ineffective either because they are invasive, inaccurate, or disrupt EMS workflows. We thought that together our team had the right skills and background to develop a worthwhile solution and saw this as a cool opportunity to introduce a new technology for EMS providers so they can focus on saving more lives,” said Coursen.

The team spoke to licensed paramedics and clinical mentors in emergency medicine before beginning development. They then designed the small, non-invasive sensor that is placed behind the ear. It uses a system of internal heating and cooling elements to calculate CBT by bringing the core temperature to the surface of the skin.

According to the students, the device could provide an improvement on current methods because it measures core body temperature without the need to be placed on the core body region.

“Hypothermia and hyperthermia have a multitude of life-threatening complications, affecting around 4.3 million patients a year, and that’s a huge drain on hospital resources,” said Chou. “Designing an effective solution that is easily integrated into the EMS workflow will improve patient outcomes by providing a tool to direct and validate treatment before arriving at a hospital. We think our tool could help alleviate downstream complications and reduce overall healthcare costs related to hospitalizations for heat-related illnesses.”

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