There have been a series of smart bandages developed in recent years, and one of the latest is a bandage that changes color depending on what type of infection is present. A prime advantage of a smart bandage is early diagnosis that will assist physicians in diagnosing and prescribing the right antibiotic in the earliest stages of an infection.
For the majority of wounds, an advanced smart bandage may be a little overkill. But there is a large market for patients that could face serious risks from an infection. According to the CDC, almost 400,000 patients each year are affected by surgical site infections. Add this to the 24 million diabetic Americans that are at risk for foot ulcers and you have a market that is estimated to grow at a rate of almost 5% per year.
Smart bandages are constructed around sub-millimeter-sized silicon wafer sensors impregnated into the cloth. First-generation technologies are designed to differentiate between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Researchers next goal is to include other types of bacteria, such as salmonella, listeria, and enteropathogenic E. coli.
However, due to costs, the technology may not be applicable everyone. But for already compromised patients, early detection could mean the difference between taking an antibiotic or a more serious intervention.