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Real-time wound management through integrated pH sensors: a review

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Purpose

– Real-time monitoring of wound or injured tissues is critical for speedy recovery, and the onset of a cascade of biochemical reactions provides potential biomarkers that facilitate the process of wound monitoring, e.g. pH, temperature, moisture level, bacterial load, cytokines, interleukins, etc. Among all the biomarkers, pH has been known to have a profound impact on the wound healing process, and is used to determine the incidence of bacterial infection of the wound (persistently elevated alkaline pH), proteolytic activity at the site of injury, take rate in skin grafting, wound healing stage and preparation for wound debridement.

Design/methodology/approach

– This review highlights the significance of pH in determination of clinical parameters and for selection of an appropriate treatment regime, and it presents an in-depth analysis of the designs and fabrication methods that use integrated pH sensors, which have been reported to date for the real-time monitoring of wound healing.

Findings

– For an expedited wound healing process, the significance of pH mandated the need of an integrated sensor system that would facilitate real-time monitoring of healing wounds and obviate the requirement of redressing or complicated testing procedures, which are both labor-intensive and painful for the patient. The review also discussed different types of sensor systems which were developed using hydrogel as a pH-responsive system coupled with voltammetry, potentiometry, impedimetric and flex-circuit inductive transducer systems. All of the mentioned devices have considerable potential for clinical applications, and there is need of in vivo testing to validate their efficiency and sensitivity under practical scenarios.

Originality/value

– This manuscript is an original review of literature, and permission has been granted to use the figures from previously published papers.
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Keywords: Biosensors; Condition monitoring; Medical; Sensors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

Publication date: March 16, 2015

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