In premature infants, untreated electrolyte disturbances can lead to life-threatening conditions. As part of the PreeMO project, Fraunhofer IISB is developing sensors that enable real-time monitoring of electrolyte balance in a minimum-strain procedure for premature infants.
The five partners of the project PreeMO, funded by the BMBF, are researching non-invasive real-time monitoring of electrolyte balance using ion-selective diagnostics. The aim is to detect electrolyte imbalances in premature infants, which can have life-threatening consequences if left untreated. To check the electrolyte balance, the method currently used requires blood to be drawn two to three times a day. Electrolyte levels are then determined by blood gas analysis. This invasive procedure provides only momentary data and is painful for the infants due to the frequent blood sampling.
For pain-free electrolyte measurement, the research team at Fraunhofer IISB is developing ion-selective sensors for single ions (Na+) as well as for multiple ions (Na+K+Cl-). The sensors measure the electrolyte balance from the thin layer of sweat on the skin. The aim is to evaluate miniaturized multisensor arrays for the measurement of sodium, potassium and chloride that can be integrated into a child-friendly textile bandage. The bandage, as well as the creation of an adapted electronic system and the transfer to an industrial manufacturing environment, will be realized together with the PreeMO partners.