Thinking Out of the (Big) Box: A Wearable Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Monitor for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service

Patrick Schober, Lothar A. Schwarte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: In prehospital helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) settings, the medical team has limited monitoring options, usually restricted to systemic variables. Regional tissue oxygenation (rO2) can be assessed by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), but clinical NIRS monitors are unpractical (“big boxes” and additional cables) in HEMS. As an alternative, we identified a wearable, athlete training NIRS device (Moxy; Idiag, Fehraltorf, Switzerland) and hypothesized that it would be applicable in our HEMS setting. Methods: This feasibility study was performed at the Dutch HEMS Lifeliner 1. The Moxy sensor was tested in-flight and on ground. We tested various anatomic measurement spots, and multiple conditions and interventions were imposed to track rO2. Results: The rO2 measurements with the wearable Moxy NIRS device are both feasible and practical in an HEMS setting. Multiple conditions and interventions were tested successfully (eg, tourniquet placement [rO2↓], muscle compression [rO2↓], reperfusion [rO2↑], oxygen administration [rO2↑], hyperemia [rO2↑], and venous congestion [rO2↓]). Conclusion: Our results suggest that rO2 measurements with the wearable Moxy NIRS device are both feasible and practical in HEMS, and Moxy allows the tracking of simulated pathophysiologic effects on rO2. Future studies will have to verify our preliminary data and elucidate if and how wearable NIRS monitoring may support treatment in HEMS and improve patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-123
Number of pages4
JournalAir Medical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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