A collaborative study involving Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Celero Systems, and West Virginia University has tested a new wireless ingestible device for monitoring vital signs. The device, known as the Vitals Monitoring Pill (VM Pill), has shown promise in a pilot clinical study involving 10 people with sleep apnea and in a preclinical model for opioid-induced respiratory depression.
Key aspects of the study and the VM Pill include:
- Purpose and Function: The VM Pill is designed to accurately report vital signs like heart and respiratory rate. It is intended to offer a less intrusive method for monitoring conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, a condition affecting millions in the U.S., which typically requires cumbersome monitoring devices.
- Clinical Study Results: In the study, the VM Pill successfully captured respiratory and heart rate data comparable to traditional monitoring devices. It was able to detect moments when subjects stopped breathing, either intentionally or during sleep apnea events. The device’s signals were not affected by external sleep apnea monitoring devices.
- Preclinical Model for Opioid Overdose: In a model simulating fentanyl overdose, the VM Pill detected respiratory depression within a minute of overdose in real-time.
- Safety and Excretion: Radiograph imaging confirmed the safe excretion of the device in all subjects after the study.
- Future Applications: The study suggests potential for the VM Pill in various scenarios, including gastrointestinal procedures, unobtrusive overdose detection, and sleep apnea diagnosis. The device could significantly transform the capacity to respond rapidly to life-threatening events.
- Commercial Development: Celero Systems, co-founded by one of the study’s authors, is developing and commercializing ingestible electronic devices like the VM Pill.
This study represents a significant step in the development of non-invasive, efficient health monitoring technologies, with potential broad applications in healthcare.