Application of Textile-based Electrodes for ECG Monitoring in Animals

For long-term monitoring of an animal's ECG, using a dry textile-based electrode may have a number of benefits. They are more comfortable and can absorb perspiration produced by animal skin thanks to their air and water permeability, which may enhance the quality of the collected signal. The use of textile electrodes for electrocardiography (ECG) monitoring in animals has only been the subject of research.

In veterinary medicine, ECG monitoring is a vital tool for health diagnosis. In veterinary clinical practice, long-term ECG monitoring is crucial for determining the health of animals. For ECG measurements on animals, crocodile clamp electrodes and sticky gel are typically utilized. These electrodes are viewed as bothersome since the clamps that are pressed to the animal's skin may cause pain and the application of gel may create a skin reaction. Self-adhesive wet electrodes were also employed as an alternative, but because animal skin is frequently covered in long hair, these electrodes are not ideal for long-term ECG monitoring. Veterinary medicine's need for long-term ECG monitoring prompted the creation of gel-free dry textile electrodes. Textile electrodes are practical for long-term ECG monitoring in both human and veterinary clinical practice because they are naturally lightweight and flexible.

Textile electrodes for veterinary electrocardiography (ECG) monitoring have been the subject of some research. Textile-based sensors might make it possible to create measuring devices that are more accessible, affordable, and comfortable with wearable animal ECG monitoring. This would give users more opportunity to actively manage the health of the animals as part of a preventive lifestyle, which lowers healthcare costs by identifying health issues early on. However, common textile products present in ordinary clothing are electrically non-conductive by nature and cannot thus be employed directly for biosensing applications. For the textile to be used for sensing or data transmission, it must be electrically conductive. By incorporating metals, carbon fibers, or conductive polymers into the fabric's structure via a variety of methods at various stages, textiles can be rendered electrically conductive (fibers, yarns, or fabrics). The creation of textile electrodes, in particular silver-coated textiles for dog and horse ECG testing, is the main topic of this work. In order to monitor animal health, the ECG signal quality of each type of electrode will be assessed, and the results will be compared to signals obtained using conventional gelled Ag/AgCl electrodes. The best electrode development technique, optimal electrode size and shape, stability of the electrodes, and performance of the electrodes in different conditions will be studied. Metallic silver will come into touch with the skin, but because silver cannot easily be absorbed via the skin, there are no adverse effects.

Figure a: Typical normal ECG signal with major components
Figure a: Typical normal ECG signal with major components
Figure b: silver printed textile electrode
Figure b: silver printed textile electrode
Figure c: Ag/AgCl electrodes
Figure c: Ag/AgCl electrodes

Further information

Contact

Prof. dr. ir Lieva Van Langenhove (Lieva.VanLangenhove@ugent.be)
ir Abreha Bayrau Nigusse (abrehabayrau.bayraunigusse@ugent.be)