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Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | A new ‘smart bandage’ raises the bar for treating chronic wounds” published in The Hindu on 6th June 2023
What is the News?
Researchers have developed a smart bandage which can help treat chronic wounds. This bandage can deliver drugs while monitoring the healing status and transmitting data to a smartphone.
What is the status of chronic wounds?
Chronic non-healing wounds affect tens of millions of people around the world and cause a staggering financial burden on the health care system. If a general surgeon sees 10 patients, 3-4 patients will be ones with chronic wounds, so it’s very rampant, and most common in the lower socio-economic strata of society.
About 80% of people with chronic wounds would be those with diabetes. About 25% of the nearly 77 million diabetic adults in India develop diabetic foot ulcers, a type of chronic wound. Of these, around half of the wounds become infected, requiring hospitalisation, and about 20% need amputation.
What is a smart bandage?
It is a soft stretchable polymer that helps the bandage maintain contact with and stick to the skin. The bioelectronic system consists of biosensors that monitor biomarkers in the wound exudate.
Data collected by the bandage is passed to a flexible printed circuit board, which relays it wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet for review by a physician. A pair of electrodes control drug release from a hydrogel layer as well as stimulate the wound to encourage tissue regrowth.
How does the smart bandage work?
Exudates are the fluids exiting the wound. Biosensors determine the wound status by tracking the chemical composition of the exudates, which changes as the wound heals. Additional sensors monitor the pH and temperature for real-time information about the infection and inflammation.
A pair of electrodes, the same electrodes that stimulate the tissue, control the release of drugs from a hydrogel layer. The wireless nature of the device reduces the problems of existing electrical stimulation devices, which usually require bulky equipment and wired connections, limiting their clinical use.
What are the advantages of smart bandages?
a) It doesn’t have to be removed frequently to monitor the status and apply antibiotics, b) It reduces the cleaning and dressing of the wound. Thereby decreasing the chances of bacterial contamination, c) The bandage could also reduce the number of hospital visits.