Harvard Heart Letter

An Aingeal to watch over you

In the near future, a miniature sensor attached to your torso by two adhesive electrode patches may wirelessly and securely transmit vital information about your heart and respiration to medical personnel while you are hospitalized on a general-care floor, or are being wheeled around the building.

The device, called Aingeal (Gaelic for "angel"), is being developed by Intelesens, a company in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with input from a team led by Dr. Nathaniel Sims of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology. Dr. Sims challenged Intelesens to make an inexpensive wearable monitor that could provide basic safety surveillance to the 60% of patients in unmonitored hospital areas—that is, outside of intensive care and step-down units.

Small and flat with a rechargeable battery, the Aingeal prototype continuously monitors ECG, respiration rate, and heart rate, and is able to detect a potentially lethal arrhythmia. When pre-set limits are breached, the device sends a warning to a central station or paging system, allowing nurses to respond quickly.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »