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Nude-colored hospital gowns could help doctors better detect hard-to-see symptoms
Date:4/29/2010

/2010/04/26/so-why-do-our-veins-look-blue)

One potential solution, Changizi said, is for hospitals to outfit patients with gowns and sheets that are nude-colored and closely match their skin tone. Another solution is to develop adhesive tabs in a large palette of skin-toned colors. Physicians could then choose the tabs that most closely resemble the patient's skin tone, and place the tabs at several places on the skin of the patient. Both techniques should afford doctors and clinicians an easy and effective tool to record the skin tone of a patient, and see if it deviates even very slightly from its "baseline" color over time.

"If a patient's skin color shifts a small amount, the change will often be imperceptible to doctors and nurses," Changizi said. "If that patient is wearing a skin-colored gown or adhesive tab, however, and their skin uniformly changes slightly more blue, the initially 'invisible' gown or tab will appear bright and yellow to the observer."

While there are devices for specifically measuring the oxygen content of blood to help detect the onset of cyanosis, Changizi said the color recognition offered by the color-matched adhesive tabs and hospital gowns would be another tool to tip off the clinician that there is even a need to measure blood oxygen content. The color-matched tabs and gowns would also benefit many hospital departments, as well as international hospitals, which lack equipment to measure blood oxygen content, he said.


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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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