DayD: Smart System to Monitor Patients’ Swallowing
Swallowing is a complex mechanism which requires the use of approximately fifty pairs of muscles and various nerves. The term “dysphagia” refers to a malfunctioning digestive system resulting in difficulty swallowing liquid and/or solid food. This disorder is very serious and frequent in diverse pathologies: treatment is extremely complex and requires a wide range of experts both in the diagnostic and healing phases. In fact, dysphagia exposes patients to several risks: aspiration of foodstuffs, malnutrition, dehydration, acute and chronic bronco-pulmonary complications, social life restrictions and impairment in their quality of life. In this paper, we describe a proof of concept for a new hardware and software smart system for patient swallowing monitoring designed using a user-centred approach and interdisciplinary team of clinicians, industrial designers and engineers to help patients with dysphagia go through their rehabilitation regimes at home in a safe and autonomous way. The intent is to provide an application and a device for healthcare professionals who deal with dysphagic patient management and also for the patient and caregiver. Through this interactive system, patient and doctor are in constant contact and the application informs the doctor or therapist etc., about the imminent risk factors in order to be able to act immediately and exclude further complications. This research tries to define a new category of wearable devices that are easy to use and useful for all involved in this pathology by describing the form and functions of its hardware and software.
KeywordsDysphagia Wearable device Tech support Swallowing monitoring
The authors would like to thank all the other members of the DayD Project for their invaluable help and in particular Dr. Giulia Massazza (Speech therapist), Prof. Bruno Fattori (Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology, ENT Audiology and Phoniatrics Unit, Department of Internal and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa), Prof. Cecilia Laschi (Professor of Biorobotics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa), Prof. Marco Raggio (Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and Naval Architecture Department—DITEN, University of Genoa).
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