May 23, 2017 | Updated: 06:37 AM EDT

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New Adhesive Tape Sensor Eliminates Pain & Discomfort Of Leaky Intravenous Drips In Hospitalized Patients

Apr 18, 2017 06:12 PM EDT

Scientists and researchers have developed new adhesive tape sensor that can detect as little as two milliliters leakage in intravenous drips.
(Photo : Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A group of scientists and researchers have developed new adhesive tape sensor that can detect as little as two milliliters leakage in intravenous drips put on hospitalized patients. The invention was conducted by researchers and scientists from Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) Institute of Microelectronics together with clinicians from KK Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore.

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According to Phys Org, the new adhesive tape sensor was made from very thin electrodes surrounded with two elastic polymer substrates. The electrodes stretch when the skin is also stretched caused by the leakage of the intravenous drips into tissues. In turn, the resistance in the sensing electrode changes; this is now detected by the reader and the sensor kicks in.

The reader can be reusable since it is battery-run while the sensor patch is disposable and does not need a battery. The tape sensor can be applied together with the dressing normally used to put the cannula in place. The team was successful in testing the new adhesive tape sensor in laboratory experiments. The researchers are on their way to make the sensor more cost-effective; both efficacy and price must be friendly on patient's behalf.

Swelling and bruising at an intravenous (IV) site is already common. Intravenous sites heal quickly, however, the swelling pressurizes the nerves and may lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. As reported by Nursing Center, infiltration occurs when IV fluid or medications leak into the surrounding tissue. The infiltration is caused by improper placement of the catheter.

Extravasation, on the other hand, is termed as the leaking of vesicant drugs into the surrounding tissue. Extravasation may lead to severe local tissue damage and worst delayed healing, infection, and tissue necrosis. Another complication of IV administration is phlebitis also known as inflammation of the vein. Phlebitis is caused by vein trauma during insertion, inappropriate IV catheter size for the vein and prolonged use of the same IV site.