PregaSafe: Developing a Smart-phone based Low-cost Early Preeclampsia Detection and Monitoring Kit

Samiul Based Shuvo indicated 27.06.2019

Introduction :

Most women are aware of maternal healthcare these days but still there prevails many complications in pregnancy, especially in the developing countries. If these complications are detected earlier and the pregnant women are kept under constant monitoring, many women can escape the life-threating conditions. One of these serious conditions is Preeclampsia, a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period affecting both the mother and the unborn baby.

Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy) and up to six weeks postpartum (after delivery), though in rare cases it can occur earlier than 20 weeks.

Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, preeclampsia is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or greater — documented on two occasions, at least four hours apart) and the presence of protein in the urine (proteinuria). Swelling, impaired kidney or liver function, loss of platelet cells, sudden weight gain, severe headaches, and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report fewer symptoms, like high blood pressure, proteinuria.

The exact cause of preeclampsia involves several factors. Experts believe it begins in the placenta. Early in pregnancy, new blood vessels develop and evolve to efficiently send blood to the placenta. When these blood vessels do not seem to develop or function properly and react differently to hormonal signaling limiting the amount of blood that can flow through them, the disease onsets.

By conservative estimates, it is responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year. Hence, proper prenatal care and constant monitoring are essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia-otherwise it may be fatal for both the mother and the baby.

Though preeclampsia can become severe, if detected earlier and treated accordingly with medication to lower high blood pressure and to prevent seizures, the risk significantly lessens and the mother can deliver a healthy, matured child without any life risk.

Preeclampsia is usually diagnosed with continuous blood pressure monitoring and lab tests. Urinalysis is done to check if there is proteinuria of greater than or equal to 0.3 grams in a 24-hour urine specimen, a protein (mg/dL)/creatinine (mg/dL) ratio of 0.3 or higher, or a urine dipstick protein of 1+. Sometimes blood tests are also done to assess serum creatinine instead of urine test.

Our Idea :

Our aim is to develop a smart-phone based low-cost preeclampsia monitoring kit with an android app. The kit will be continuously monitor the blood pressure through a wrist band and will use a smartphone camera and a dipstick to perform urine tests for detecting protein and creatinine content in urine.

The system will be very simple from a user point of view and will eliminate the need of frequently visiting a laboratory for doing routine check-ups. The user will just have to capture a photo of the dipstick against a color and the app will do the rest. We aim to build our app such that it will apply machine learning to color correct the image-considering camera quality and model, lighting conditions and a variety of additional variables to perform an instant analysis. If the blood pressure remains repeatedly high and the protein and the creatinine content exceed the safe range for preeclampsia, it will notify the user advising her to visit a physician. Thus, our kit will enable the pregnant women to regularly monitor the required parameters at any place they want and will save them from the gruesome consequences of preeclampsia.

Clinical need
Remote or self-diagnosis
Obstetrics and gynecology
Mobile-based technology
Preeclampsia, Creatinine, Proteinuria, Prenatal care, Dipstick