​Weese-Mayer and Hamvas Awarded Gerber Foundation Grant

Debra E. Weese-Mayer, MD, and Aaron Hamvas, MD, have been awarded a Gerber Foundation grant entitled “Epidermal Wearable Patch: An Innovative Solution to the Lack of Continuous, Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Monitoring in the NICU”.

Infants are extremely vulnerable during the neonatal period with reduced ability to maintain blood pressure (BP) and organ perfusion. Continuous measures of BP in this population are critical to allow clinical teams to quickly detect and respond to such compromise. However, to capture continuous measures of BP, clinicians are currently forced to rely on a catheter inserted into the umbilical or peripheral artery. This invasive monitoring poses great risks for fragile infants. Thus this method is only utilized in the most critically ill infants, and even then, must be discontinued within 1 week. Subsequently, and in the rest of the NICU population, only periodic (take once every 15-60 minutes) and highly variable cuff-based BP is obtained. The lack of continuous BP impairs the clinical team’s ability to quickly detect and respond to acute risks, and obscures patterns which may be sensitive markers of impending decompensation. Thus, NICU infants are unnecessarily exposed to periods of perfusion deficits associated with mortality and lifelong morbidity. The research group proposes a solution to this problem by optimizing and validating an innovative ‘skin-like’ bio-sensing device developed by the team, capable of wirelessly and non-invasively monitoring neonatal physiology. They will deploy these biosensors in NICU clinical studies for continuous, safe, and accurate capture of BP. Once validated, this technology could fundamentally change the way newborns are monitored in the NICU, eliminating risks associated with invasive BP monitoring, allowing continuous, real-time detection of clinically meaningful changes in BP, advancing knowledge of hemodynamic signatures preceding decompensation, and ultimately reducing morbidity and mortality.

The co-investigators are John Rogers, PhD, Rooz Ghaffari, PhD, Casey Rand, BS, Alina Rwei, PhD, Ryne Estabrook, PhD, Amy Paller, MD, Steve Xu, MD, and Molly Schau, RN.