Clinical grade AFE measures four vital signs for remote patient monitoring

September 20, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Clinical grade AFE measures four vital signs for remote patient monitoring
The MAX86178 from Analog Devices synchronizes measurement of electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, SpO₂ and respiration rate

Analog Devices has launched an analog front end to simplify the design of wearable remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices by measuring four vital signs.

The MAX86178 AFE integrates three measurement systems (optical, ECG and bio-impedance) to obtain four common vital signs: electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), heart rate (ECG or optical PPG), blood-oxygen saturation (SpO₂) and respiration rate (using BioZ). The MAX86178 enables synchronized optical PPG and ECG timing for derived health metrics.

The AFE replaces discrete implementations by integrating an optical PPG sub-system to measure heart rate and SpO₂, a single lead ECG sub-system, as well as a biopotential and bioimpedance (BioZ) sub-system to measure respiration rate. It permits small vital signs devices by fitting those multiple functions into a 2.6mm x 2.8mm chip scale package.

The latest medical wearables need to operate at low power to permit smaller batteries or extend battery life to allow more convenient charging requirements. Each subsystem has configurable options to optimize battery life for specific use cases.

“By integrating three healthcare subsystems on one piece of silicon, Analog Devices builds on its DNA and delivers this sensor-fusion product,” said Andrew Burt, Executive Business Manager of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated®, now part of Analog Devices. “This AFE is resonating with the medical community because it presents new possibilities for chronic disease management, contagious disease diagnosis and remote monitoring. The MAX86178 enables small body-worn devices that can improve healthcare delivery and lower costs by keeping people out of the hospital.”

“The device is able to support many different modes of operation such as variation in frame rate for PPG data collection, Right Leg Drive (RLD) enabled in the ECG and the BioZ measurement in various frequencies. So just for an example of a “typical” use case, we can summarize the following list. The datasheet has almost 3 pages of current consumption listed, depending on modes of operation – hence this is a “generalized” number. We expect customers to “fine tune” how they use the device looking to trade off power for feature or performance.

“To operate the PPG subsystem, it takes about 100microAmps, for the ECG subsystem with RLD on is about 107microAmps and for the BioZ measuring respiration it is about 150microAmps,” said Burt. “All these currents are at 1.8V and customers can have all 3 systems “on” or any combination.”

Analog Devices also offers the MAX20343 buck-boost regulator and the MAX20360 power management IC as power solutions optimized for the MAX86178.

The MAX86178 is available in a 2.6mm x 2.8mm WLP package. The MAX86178EVKIT# is also available.

bit.ly/MAX86178_Product

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