When pressure is applied to a localized area of the body for an extended time, the resulting loss of blood flow and subsequent reperfusion to the tissue causes cell death and a pressure ulcer develops. Preventing pressure ulcers is challenging because the combination of pressure and time that results in tissue damage varies widely between patients, and the underlying damage is often severe by the time a surface wound becomes visible. Currently, no method exists to detect early tissue damage and enable intervention. Here we demonstrate a flexible, electronic device that non-invasively maps pressure-induced tissue damage, even when such damage cannot be visually observed. Using impedance spectroscopy across flexible electrode arrays in vivo on a rat model, we find that impedance is robustly correlated with tissue health across multiple animals and wound types. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of an automated, non-invasive 'bandage' for early detection of pressure ulcers.
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