A special mat may help clinicians in early detection of the conditions that can lead to a diabetic foot ulcer.

A special mat that can detect conditions that may lead to a diabetic foot ulcer could be a solution to one of the most common causes of hospitalization among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the startup Podimetrics said the special software-enabled mat can help detect temperature differences in areas of the food that may indicate nerve damage, Diabetes.Co.UK reported. Patients with nerve damage may not be able to sense any pain, thus they may not recognize the development of a foot ulcer.

Early warning

Jonathan Bloom, M.D., the CEO of Podimetrics, said the Remote Temperature Monitoring System is based on the idea that damaged tissue becomes hotter before it develops into an actual wound, according to the source. As the patient continuously applies pressure to the area, the foot may develop scar tissue, deformities or a peripheral artery disease that can make it difficult for the patient to feel the pain of a developing ulcer.

With the SmartMat, a patient stands on it for approximately 20 seconds three times a week and the mat measures the temperature differences at several areas on the feet.

The SmartMat is also connected to a monitoring system that can alert both the patient and the clinicians to areas of inflammation to allow them to begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent a foot ulcer. Its developers said the SmartMat can help clinicians identify a diabetic foot ulcer quicker than searching for traditional visual clues like discoloration due to poor circulation.

“In a real-world setting, when a doctor gets a notification that a patient has a hotspot, the patient will be advised to reduce physical activity for a period to let the developing wound heal or may be asked to come in for a visit in serious cases,” said lead investigator Robert Frykberg, M.D., as quoted by Fierce Biotech.

Easy to use

Bloom added that the simplicity of using the SmartMat encourages patients to check themselves regularly.

In a 129-patient trial, the SmartMat was able to detect 97 percent of non-traumatic plantar foot ulcers approximately five weeks before the wounds were clinically visible, according to a post from the MIT Sloan School of Management. In addition, more than 87 percent of patients reported the SmartMat as simple to use and more than 85 percent used the mat at least three times per week.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.