An accurate ambulatory breathing monitor is needed to observe acute respiratory changes in patients with medical or psychological disorders outside the clinic (e.g., hyperventilation during panic or apneas during sleep). Significant limitations of existing monitors are size, troublesome operation, and difficulty holding chest and abdomen bands in place during 24-hour recordings. Recently, a garment has been developed with embedded inductive plethysmography sensors for continuous ambulatory monitoring of respiration, heart activity, inductive cardiography, motility, postural changes, and other functions. The signals are displayed and stored on a handheld computer (Visor), and then analyzed offline, extracting more than 40 clinical parameters relating to cardiorespiratory function (e.g., heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, tidal volume, stroke volume, pre-ejection period, apnea-hypopnea index, thoraco-abdominal coordination, sighing). The device also serves as an electronic diary of symptoms, moods, and activities. This advanced system may open a new era in ambulatory monitoring for clinical practice and scientific research.
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