What it does
SvetTex Nest is a textile phototherapy system for jaundice management that embeds light therapy inside the positioning device for premature or full-term baby. It creates womb environment and protects baby’s eyes and nursing personnel from blinding blue light.
A recent news report regarding babies, who received severe burns due to a phototherapy lamp that had been covered by sheet, caught my attention and made me to find out more. Every minute around 255 children are born worldwide and 25 babies out of this number are premature. It is estimated that 70% of full-term newborns and 90% of preterm infants suffer from neonatal jaundice, which is defined by an increased level of unconjugated bilirubin in neonate’s blood. The most effective and simple way to reduce bilirubin level is the blue light therapy. However, the glowing of blue light lamps gives unpleasant side effects to the nursing personnel.
How it works
SvetTex Nest is a phototherapy device that is made from the luminous textile. Due to the nest-like shape, it offers womb-like environment to a premature baby. Cushion at the bottom of the device provides baby’s legs with protection from the light source and works as womb muscles allowing baby to develop stronger muscles by pushing up against the walls during movement. For proper growth and decubitus prevention preterm infant should be repositioned each 2 hours. Additional cushions and wings with belts are helpful in securing baby in the right position. At the same time there is no impedance to natural movements, such as grasping hands together, sucking fingers or holding onto bedding. Two inner big detachable phototherapy blankets of the nest are weaved from cotton and optical fiber yarns, so they are flexible, air-permeable and sterilisable. The outer side of blankets is made from the non-luminous textile to protect people’s eyes from the light.
First research regarding the usage of phototherapy and positioning devices has shown that there are no other devices on the market that combine these two functions together. Many hospitals use only overhead lamps for phototherapy without any positioning devices for nursing preterm infants. Parents are not allowed to hold their babies during phototherapy session, which can last for 3-5 days. In many hospitals, mothers sew positioning nests themselves. Next step was the research about materials that are allowed to use for babies and was conducted according to the international and national rules, standards and sanitary regulations. The focus was made on materials that are soft, breathing and safe for neonates. In addition, these materials can survive during severe process of disinfection and sterilization. The goal was to find inexpensive materials that are manufactured locally. Then it was turn of prototyping, during which I tried to create an optical panel from different materials, until the moment I came to the luminous textile. I weaved it from cotton, bamboo yarn and side glowing optical fibers. Textile allows creating sufficient and cozy shapes and at the same time does not hinder baby’s movements. For today, I have two working prototypes of the nest, one for premature and one for full-term babies.
How it is different
There can be classified two types of common commercial phototherapy systems: overhead lamps and blanket panels. Both of these types allow irradiating light only 7on a certain part of a baby’s body. SvetTex Nest has the biggest irradiating surface and allows wrapping baby inside the light, providing therapy that is more effective. At the same time, non-luminous outer surface of the nest protects baby’s eyes and nursing personnel from the glowing. Textile with interweave optical fibers is hypoallergic, soft and breathing. This is an advantage over plastic fiberoptic blankets. Close placement of optical fibers in the textile creates an even glowing that is almost invisible in the daylight, while other devices have to use powerful LEDs or lamps to achieve necessary light density. This is the first device that combines phototherapy and positioning devices’ qualities altogether. Fiberoptic does not produce any heat, UV or IR rays that can be harmful for babies.
Next stage of this project is going to be the clinical testing of the device. I am also intending to work further and to improve the light source for the nest to make it smaller, lighter and possibly build into it a battery module. This is a start-up project, I am looking forward to cooperation with manufacturers of medical devices in neonatal area to create bundle solution that would fulfill needs of premature and full-term babies as well as it would protect health of the nursing personnel.