Biotelemetry involves the application of telemetry
Telemetry is a technology that allows measurements to be made at a distance, usually via radio wave transmission and reception of the information. The word is derived from Greek roots: tele = remote, and metron = measure...

 in the medical field to remotely monitor various vital signs
Vital signs
Vital signs are measures of various physiological statistics, often taken by health professionals, in order to assess the most basic body functions. Vital signs are an essential part of a case presentation. The act of taking vital signs normally entails recording body temperature, pulse rate ,...

 of ambulatory patients.


The most common usage for biotelemetry is in dedicated cardiac care telemetry units or step-down units in hospitals. Although virtually any physiological signal could be transmitted, application is typically limited to EKG and SpO2
Oxygen saturation
Oxygen saturation or dissolved oxygen is a relative measure of the amount of oxygen that is dissolved or carried in a given medium. It can be measured with a dissolved oxygen probe such as an oxygen sensor or an optode in liquid media, usually water.It has particular significance in medicine and...


Components of a biotelemetry system

A typical biotelemetry system comprises:
  • Sensors appropriate for the particular signals to be monitored
  • Battery-powered, Patient worn transmitters
  • A Radio Antenna and Receiver
  • A display unit capable of concurrently presenting information from multiple patients
  • Animal tracking


Some of the first uses of biotelemetry systems date to the early space race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

, where physiological signals obtained from animals or human passengers were transmitted back to Earth for analysis (the name of the medical device manufacturer Spacelabs Healthcare
Spacelabs Healthcare
Spacelabs Healthcare, is a wholly owned subsidiary of OSI Systems of Hawthorne, California, which manufactures and distributes medical equipment....

 is a reflection of their start in 1958 developing biotelemetry systems for the early U.S. space program).

Current trends

Because of crowding of the radio spectrum
Radio spectrum
Radio spectrum refers to the part of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponding to radio frequencies – that is, frequencies lower than around 300 GHz ....

 due to the recent introduction of HDTV in the United States and many other countries, the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (FCC) as well as similar agencies elsewhere have recently begun to allocate dedicated frequency bands for exclusive biotelemetry usage, for example, the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service
Wireless Medical Telemetry Service
Wireless Medical Telemetry Service is a wireless service specifically defined in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission for transmission of data related to a patient's health . It was created in 2000 because of interference issues due to establishment of digital television...

 (WMTS). The FCC has designated the American Society for Healthcare Engineering of the American Hospital Association (ASHE/AHA) as the frequency coordinator for the WMTS.

In addition, there are many products that utilize commonly available standard radio devices such as Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security...

 and IEEE 802.11.

See also

  • Battlefield medicine
    Battlefield medicine
    Battlefield medicine, also called field surgery and later combat casualty care, is the treatment of wounded soldiers in or near an area of combat. Civilian medicine has been greatly advanced by procedures that were first developed to treat the wounds inflicted during combat...

  • Heart rate monitor
    Heart rate monitor
    A heart rate monitor is a personal monitoring device which allows a subject to measure his or her heart rate in real time or record his or her heart rate for later study...

  • Remote physiological monitoring
    Remote physiological monitoring
    Remote monitoring of people is now a possibility due to remote wireless technology and miniaturization. Also the advent of smart fabrics in recent years has allowed people to stay attached to monitoring devices without the issues of discomfort, large bulky technology or skin break down associated...

  • Remote patient monitoring
    Remote patient monitoring
    Remote patient monitoring ' refers to the use of various point-of-care technologies to monitor a patient’s physiological status and health conditions....

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.