Vital signs are archaic or “late to the game.” You read that right. Traditional vital signs that are collected and indicate a problem such as low/high blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc. are not detectably altered until your body has already been trying to compensate for a deficiency. By the time traditional vital signs become abnormal, care givers may have little time to intervene before irreversible damage and even death occurs. Complicating this is the epidemic of chronic diseases like hypertension and heart failure which make traditional vital signs even harder to interpret.  

But what if the problem could’ve been detected and prevented before your body began to act up by developing new and more informative vital signs? Insert New Vital Signs

Launched in 2017, the company focuses on developing wearable devices that can detect a new generation of physiologic signals. New Vital Signs’ leadership includes Acting CEO Dominic Spadafore, Board Member Doug Neal, and Chief Scientific Officer and MCIRCC’s Executive Director Kevin Ward, MD. New Vital Signs’ has partnered with MCIRCC to develop their wearable platform, based on MCIRCC’s advanced research, in an effort to develop low cost scalable noninvasive monitors to best identify at risk patients.

Some of the new vitals that are being explored include determining the optimal amount of circulating blood volume for a particular patient or analyzing the vascular tone of their arteries.  Being able to do so will enable a deeper understanding of a patient’s physiologic state and response to a critical illness or injury, earlier intervention prior to patient deterioration, improved precision treatments, and the ability to monitor such signals from the ER, ICU, or their home thanks to their portability. Bottom line, improved patient outcomes are the target.

“Detection of these compensatory systems allows us to detect all of these signals on the body, something New Vital Signs does uniquely well,” said Neal.

The three technologies being developed include:

Dynamic Respiratory Impedance Volume Evaluation (DRIVE): A wearable monitor that rapidly assesses circulating volume in a dynamic manner linking cardiovascular and respiratory function. Areas of impact: sepsis, trauma, heart failure, dialysis, and conditions effecting respiration.

Trans-Ocular Brain Impedance (TOBI): A rapid and continuous evaluation and monitoring of cerebral autoregulation - imperative in avoiding severe neurologic impairment. Areas of impact: traumatic brain injury, stroke, cardiac arrest, sepsis, and complex surgical procedures requiring cerebral autoregulation.

Vascular Arterial Tone Monitoring System (VATMOS): Continuously assesses peripheral vascular tone and the cardiovascular system’s response to illness and injury, a sign that occurs prior to a change in a traditional vital sign such as blood pressure. Areas of impact: sepsis, trauma, complex cardiovascular surgeries, traumatic brain injury, etc.

“The beauty of these technologies is that they are all non-invasive and provide real-time insights into physiologic changes that were previously inaccessible without expensive, complex, and sometime dangerous invasive monitoring” said Spadafore.

Since research prototypes are complete, the short term goal for New Vital Signs is to raise funds in order to further refine the prototype designs into finalized products and then take them through the FDA approval process. Several of the products are being tested by MCIRCC at Michigan Medicine under grants funded by the Department of Defense.

The development and testing of these exciting new monitors is the work of an incredible team of MCIRCC scientists with backgrounds in Emergency Medicine, Neurosurgery, Trauma Surgery, Pulmonary Critical Care, Pediatrics, Mechanical Engineering, Anesthesiology, Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Nephrology, Biomedical Engineering, and Mathematics.

The long term strategy includes the development of a platform device that can be used with each of the products’ collected signals, ultimately catching events prior to them occurring and delivering precise treatment based on the individual being monitored.