New Epilepsy Warning Device could Save Thousands of Lives

A new high-tech bracelet, developed by scientists from the Netherlands detects 85 percent of all severe night-time epilepsy seizures. That is a much better score than any other technology currently available. The researchers involved think that this bracelet, called Nightwatch, can reduce the worldwide number of unexpected night-time fatalities in epilepsy patients. They published the results of a prospective trial in the scientific journal Neurology.

SUDEP, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, is a major cause of mortality in epilepsy patients. People with an intellectual disability and severe therapy resistant epilepsy, may even have a 20% lifetime risk of dying from epilepsy. Although there are several techniques for monitoring patients at night, many attacks are still being missed.

Consortium researchers have therefore developed a bracelet that recognizes two essential characteristics of severe attacks: an abnormally fast heartbeat, and rhythmic jolting movements. In such cases, the bracelet will send a wireless alert to carers or nurses.

The research team prospectively tested the bracelet, known as Nightwatch, in 28 intellectually handicapped epilepsy patients over an average of 65 nights per patient. The bracelet was restricted to sounding an alarm in the event of a severe seizure. The patients were also filmed to check if there were any false alarms or attacks that the Nightwatch might have missed. This comparison shows that the bracelet detected 85 percent of all serious attacks and 96% of the most severe ones (tonic-clonic seizures), which is a particularly high score.

For the sake of comparison, the current detection standard, a bed sensor that reacts to vibrations due to rhythmic jerks, was tested at the same time. This signalled only 21% of serious attacks. On average, the bed sensor therefore remained unduly silent once every 4 nights per patient. The Nightwatch, on the other hand, only missed a serious attack per patient once every 25 nights on average. Furthermore, the patients did not experience much discomfort from the bracelet and the care staff were also positive about the use of the bracelet.

These results show that the bracelet works well, says neurologist and research leader Prof. Dr. Johan Arends. The Nightwatch can now be widely used among adults, both in institutions and at home. Arends expects that this may reduce the number of cases of SUDEP by two-thirds, although this also depends on how quickly and adequately care providers or informal carers respond to the alerts. If applied globally, it can save thousands of lives.

Johan Arends, Roland D. Thijs, Thea Gutter, Constantin Ungureanu, Pierre Cluitmans, Johannes Van Dijk, Judith van Andel, Francis Tan, Al de Weerd, Ben Vledder, Wytske Hofstra, Richard Lazeron, Ghislaine van Thiel, Kit C.B. Roes, Frans Leijten, and the Dutch Tele-Epilepsy Consortium.
Multimodal nocturnal seizure detection in a residential care setting.
Neurology Oct 2018. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006545.

Most Popular Now

Alcon to Develop SMART Suite Digital Hea…

Alcon, the global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, today announced plans to develop the SMART Suite by Alcon, an innovative, digital platform that is designed to...

Philips Launches First Global Start-Up C…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, announced the launch of its first global start-up collaboration program involving Philips' innovation hubs in Cambridge (US), Eindhoven...

Simple Stickers may Save Lives of Patien…

Heart surgery can be traumatic for patients. Having to continuously monitor your status without a doctor when you are back home can be even scarier. Imagine being able to do...

Digital Health Consultancy Expands to Su…

Digital health consultancy Populo Consulting has announced the appointment of a new managing director as part of an ambitious growth strategy. The expansion will enable it to support more NHS...

MEDICA 2018 Boasts over 5,000 Exhibitors…

12 - 15 November 2018, Düsseldorf, Germany. When top decision-makers in the healthcare business meet in Düsseldorf in the middle of November at the world's leading medical trade fair, MEDICA 2018...

Stanford, Apple Describe Heart Study wit…

A clinical trial to determine whether a smartwatch app that analyzes pulse-rate data can screen for a heart-rhythm disorder has enrolled more than 400,000 participants. Researchers at Stanford Medicine, in...

With Mobilett Elara Max, Siemens Healthi…

With the presentation of Mobilett Elara Max, Siemens Healthineers is setting new standards in mobile X-ray imaging. The easy-to-clean system surfaces with an antimicrobial coating reduce the risk of hospital...

Augmented Reality may Assist Cardiologis…

Augmented reality (AR), a technology that superimposes computer-generated information on a user's view of the real world, offers a new platform to help physicians better visualize complex medical data, particularly...

The Partnership for Digital Healthis Com…

15 - 16 November 2018, Berlin, Germany. The initiative co-founded by Egon Zehnder and including partners Sanofi, SAP and Qiagen, is one of the most forward-thinking partnerships for promoting innovation in...

Health Tech Communications Agency Takes …

Highland Marketing, a full service marketing communications agency for the health tech and wider public sector markets, has appointed Michelle Cheng as marketing executive to support the business' rapid growth.

IBM to Acquire Red Hat, Completely Chang…

IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), the world's leading provider of open source cloud software, announced that the companies have reached a definitive agreement under which IBM will acquire all...