10. Blood Pressure Monitors
Blood Pressure Monitors are available in healthcare facilities, as well as for use at home (although it should be serviced every two years). They tell a patient their blood pressure reading and can identify when there is a problem, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension).
When preparing a fancy dress costume for Doctor, a stethoscope would be the first prop to go for. Invented in 1816 by musician Rene Laennec, he used his knowledge of musical instruments to build the one-eared device, which was later developed into the two-eared model we use today.
A nursing hand to the forehead of the patient is one way to check their temperature, but inaccurate. The first record of a thermometer goes back to Galileo - but it would take another century until Gabriel Fahrenheit measured the difference between freezing and boiling with his thermometer using mercury. The Celsius scale followed in 1742. Thermometers are used to measure body temperature and tell doctor’s what’s going on inside the patient’s body.
Blood sugar level monitoring helps people with diabetes keep their health under control and measure the impact of their diet, exercise and medication. The glucometer is a medical device that measures how much sugar is in the blood sample, giving the patient an accurate reading from a finger prick of blood.
6. MRI machines (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
The MRI machine can create 3D images of the human body, which helps diagnose problems in the spine, brain or eye, among others.
In our ‘Top 10 medical breakthroughs made in space’, the MRI machine was featured. The Canadian Space Agency uses robotic arms for complex manoeuvring on its space station – and an opportunity was spotted for the space equipment to be used in surgery for patients with breast cancer: the Image-Guided Autonomous Robot (IGAR) has been refocused inside MRI machines to assist healthcare professionals in the location of breast cancer.
5. X-ray machines
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen accidentally discovered the X-ray in 1895. Röntgen discovered that an X-ray could see through the skin but not bones, giving healthcare professionals a glimpse into the human body. Check out our ‘Top 10 healthcare inventions that changed our way of life’ for more.
4. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machines
An electrocardiogram is used to detect heart problems, such as irregular heart rhythms, coronary artery disease or a heart attack, by recording the electrical signals within the heart. While you’ll find these in an ambulance, many smartwatches also provide some level of ECG monitoring.
A ventilator helps patients suffering from some form of respiratory failure and like many medical devices. Intelligent solutions company, Hamilton Medical, was founded in 1983 in Graubünden, Switzerland. The company massively advanced the technology used in ventilators, which during the pandemic were used to support breathing and maintain oxygen levels.
2. Insulin Pumps
For people living with diabetes, an insulin pump provides small quantities of insulin into their blood, via a tiny tube under the skin which must be replaced every few days. This improves blood glucose levels. However, insulin pumps don’t suit every diabetes patient and their healthcare professional will help them decide what’s best.
For those with heart health problems (such as irregular heart rhythms), a pacemaker can help to regulate their heartbeat. Fixed into the chest, a pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle, so that it can keep a regular rhythm. In addition, a pacemaker can record heart rhythm data to more broadly monitor the patient's health. While this is a safe procedure, follow-ups are vital, where results are reviewed.
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