St. Anne’s Hospital Pilots Special Bracelets That Detect Epilepsy Seizures

A collaboration between various health institutes has led to a pilot project at St. Anne’s University Hospital and the Masaryk University Faculty of Medicine, to develop and test bracelets that can detect an epilepsy seizure and alert the patient’s caregivers. Photo credit: FNUSA.

Brno, Jul 14 (BD) – A pilot project was launched three months ago by the First Department of Neurology at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA) and Masaryk University Faculty of Medicine (LF MU), to test special electronic sensor bracelets on selected patients with epilepsy. The bracelets can detect changes in physiological parameters in the patient’s body during large seizures, and alert others. 14 patients are currently testing the bracelets.

When the bracelet detects a seizure, the patient’s closest relatives are informed via SMS, and then with a telephone call, made possible by a Bluetooth connection. “Everything happens in a matter of seconds. The risk of the patient hurting themself during the attack is significantly reduced,” said Professor Milan Brázdil, head of FNUSA. The bracelet also provides accurate data on the seizure that physicians can use to plan further treatment.

One of the most characteristic features of epilepsy is the unpredictability of the onset of seizures, which can lead to social isolation due to concern about being alone in public. The biggest problem, however, is the high morbidity and mortality rate of seizures. According to the team at FNUSA, the electronic bracelets can help in many ways. “The whole purpose of the project is not only to find the most suitable bracelet for patients, but also to build an effective system for the patient, their caregiver or family, doctors, and in the future also the rescue service or social workers,” said Michal Kurečka from the Neurosmart Endowment Fund, which finances the project in cooperation with the City of Brno and the South Moravian Region. The University Hospital Brno, the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, its Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics of the Czech Republic are also collaborating on the project.

Epilepsy patient Václav Komárek and his mother Martina Komárková. Photo credit: FNUSA.

One of the patients testing the bracelet is 27-year-old Václav Komárek from Kravař in the Opava region. “I have had seizures eight times a month since I was a child. I don’t know when the seizure will come, I don’t know until it starts. It is often dangerous, it has happened to me that I had a seizure while walking outside, I fell and got a concussion and a cut hand,” said Komárek, as quoted by FNUSA. His mother Martina Komárková added: “The seizures are probably not completely preventable, but thanks to the bracelet, I will be there in a few seconds, and turn my son on his side so that he does not suffocate from saliva or bite his tongue. He won’t just be left somewhere without help, and that’s very important to us.”

According to FNUSA, the first results of the project should be available to experts by the end of this year. “We will also consult with professional medical companies and introduce them to health insurance companies, which could gradually introduce new funds in their portfolio. We plan to publish the final results in relevant professional journals, and, of course, in the case of positive results, we intend to introduce the system into clinical practice,” said Brázdil.

The pilot team is planning to add 30 more bracelets to the existing 14, and also has plans to test the bracelets with patients suffering from Parkinson’s.

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