U of Rochester Medical Center gets nearly $3M to test toilet seat that detects heart failure early

The National Institutes of Health awarded $2.9 million to University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center and Rochester Institute of Technology to test their jointly developed artificial intelligence-powered toilet seat that measures heart failure patients' vitals.

The five-year grant will go toward upgrading the Fully-Integrated Toilet Seat, or FIT Seat monitoring system, to improve user interfaces that transmit real-time patient data to physicians to monitor remotely. New AI technology will be added to the device as part of an early-alert system that allows physicians to identify sooner when a patient's condition worsens, which will help patients avoid re-hospitalization.

The FIT Seat will feature sensors that monitor heart health indicators including blood pressure, weight and heart rate.

"There are a number of factors that can be evaluated in these patients," said Wojciech Zareba, MD, cardiology professor at URMC, according to the Oct. 6 news release. "It is like having a patient on bedside monitoring in an intensive care unit. At home, people don't usually have these monitoring tools. This seat is serving as a good monitoring tool. Even if it is not continuous, it will be used by patients several times per day, and each time, it will record data and send it to be processed."

Rochester Institute of Technology and URMC researchers developed the original FIT Seat technology in 2014 and will now focus on building the test system and recruiting patients for the study.

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