Dr. Vivian Mushahwar and her team invented Smart-e-Pants, a first-in-class wearable garment for preventing pressure injuries. Pressure injuries, commonly known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, are caused when a person is unable to change position, such as when a patient lies in a hospital bed for long periods of time, unable to move. People dependent on the use of wheelchairs for daily mobility are also susceptible to pressure injuries.
Smart-e-Pants uses a patented electrical stimulation pattern to produce brief contractions in muscles that are compressed for prolonged periods of time, such as the muscles of the buttocks and lower back, while sitting or lying down. These contractions, which are repeated every few minutes, mimic the natural fidgeting movements that people with intact nervous systems perform subconsciously to alleviate discomfort while sitting or sleeping.
In the United States, the cost of treating hospital-acquired pressure injuries is over $11 billion per year. In Canada, the cost of treating all pressure injuries is estimated to be $3.5 billion per year. By preventing the formation of pressure injuries, Smart-e-Pants could not only substantially improve quality of care and quality of live, but also decrease treatment costs. The Smart-e-Pants intellectual property has been assigned to the Edmonton-based company.