Measurement technology

Curve assessment using datasheets

The Bodytronic 200 measurement system

From Bauerfeind Life Magazin on 24.02.2021

Story Check Vein screening made simple, quick, and clear – Bauerfeind’s wireless Bodytronic 200 light reflection rheography system makes it possible.

  • For this process, the expert advisor sticks infrared sensors above the inside of the patients’ ankles and asks them to carry out a specified movement sequence with their feet.
  • Within a few minutes, a photodetector illustrates the pumping power and refill performance of the superficial veins. The results are depicted graphically using curves on a datasheet.
  • During the subsequent consultation, the medical retailer explains the evaluation and can recommend the patient to visit a physician if required.

Within just a few minutes and without any cables, the Bodytronic 200 measures the function of the superficial vein system. During the subsequent evaluation of the measurement data at a medical supply retail store, the discussion with the patient plays an important role.

The sensors are attached in just a few simple steps.

Attach the sensors, switch on the device and go: Franziska Kunth gets the vein function measurement going in just a few simple steps. Beforehand, Franziska, who works at “BUSCH. Sanitätshaus & Orthopädietechnik” medical retailer in Halle, Germany, asked her customer to take off her shoes and stockings, take a seat and relax. Now she has round infrared sensors attached above the inside of her ankles, and the measurement can begin. Initially, only the heels remain in contact with the floor, while the feet move steadily up and down. A bright acoustic signal specifies the rhythm, then the customer has to keep her feet still again. “You don’t notice anything,” the customer confirms. Using Bluetooth technology, the wireless Bodytronic 200 light reflection rheography system measures the pumping power and refill performance of the superficial veins in the lower extremities. With this measurement, vein problems can be detected early that cannot yet be noticed visually.

Illustrated measurement results

The actual measurement process takes only a few minutes. Infrared sensors measure how quickly the veins fill up with blood again after they were actively emptied by the calf muscle pump.

The readings are transferred to a laptop, then printed out as a datasheet. Elisa Busch, owner of the medical supply retail store, was immediately convinced by this illustration – and the easy handling – when she was introduced to the system a few years ago. “The curves illustrate the measurements,” she explains. “Patients don’t usually know what to do with the raw data. But when they see whether the curve on the datasheet drops steeply or slopes gently, they can clearly recognize what the return flow of blood in their veins is doing compared with the norm.” It is important to point out during customer consultation that this measurement is a snapshot. It is the current status of the superficial veins that is identified. This process is not a substitute for a scientific and/or medical diagnosis. If there are signs of a venous disorder, this should be examined by a physician who is also able to check deeper veins with specific diagnostic methods.

The recorded readings are visualized on a datasheet.

Ideally suited
for promotional days

The medical supply retailer in the north of the city on the river Saale has a history of nearly a hundred years. It has belonged to the Busch family since 1987. In 2018, Elisa Busch, who is now 33, took over the management from her father. He is still a part of the business, as is her mother and Elisa’s husband. In total, the company employes 24 staff, dedicated to the well-being of their customers and patients. Five colleagues from the Compression Therapy Department were instructed on the use of the Bodytronic 200 by a Bauerfeind expert during an in-house training course. In addition to the handling, they also learned useful information about anatomy and pathology so they are able to explain vein function to their patients and recommend suitable product options. Once the system is in use, Bauerfeind employees from the Service or Sales Departments will continue to be available in case of questions.

Franziska Kunth takes her time explaining this snapshot to patients to make sure they don’t leave with any questions remaining.

Elisa Busch primarily uses the Bodytronic for promotions, such as on Vein Days, Open Days, and sometimes at healthcare trade fairs. These campaigns are advertised on the store’s homepage, in the press, with flyers and displays. “During promotional days and events, we have chats with customers or their partners,” Elisa Busch reports. “That’s when we sometimes hear about problems with the legs. So this is where a vein function measurement comes in handy.” The whole process, including the explanation of the datasheet at the end, takes about half an hour. If this comes up with an abnormal finding, many patients are worried to begin with because they don’t know what will happen next. “We will calm them down, explain the results and clarify the next steps,” Elisa Busch says. About half of those who were examined then make an appointment with their physician. A lot of them return later with a prescription. Most of them are women over the age of 35 or much older. “Women are more mindful about their health and interested in taking precautions,” Heike Busch, the owner’s mother, assumes. “But the percentage of men with venous disorders is increasing.”

For Elisa Busch, owner of Busch medical supply retailer in Halle an der Saale, comprehensive professional advice but also responding to customers’ needs characterize a high-quality consultation.

Responding to patient needs

In order to support patients in the long term, the Busch team works with the Bauerfeind customer loyalty card: customers receive it with their first compression stocking. A stamp is put on the card with each new prescription. Once the card is full of stamps, the patients receive a useful present. But the most important tools for customer retention are and will always be excellent quality, good advice, pleasant surroundings and: “Interpersonal factors,” as Heike Busch points out. “Listening. Talking to each other. There are no time limits for appointments. Our patients are also allowed to unburden their hearts from time to time.” That means they will return. Close cooperation with physicians, physical therapists and hospital staff also contributes to the overall objective of joining forces to find the best solution for the patient. That is why the Busch medical supply retailer offers training or informational events in smaller groups – for example, relating to new products or practical questions. Franziska Kunth’s customer has now put her shoes and stockings on again and listens to the comprehensive explanation of the measurements results. “I came because my legs and feet hurt sometimes,” she explains. But the curves on the datasheet look good, and there are no irregularities. The pumping power as well as the venous refill time are within the normal range for both legs. The 51-year-old does not suffer from pre-existing conditions, and vein problems do not run in the family. But in order to make sure that she has no arterial or other problems, the Busch medical supply retail employee recommends for her to check with her family doctor: “As I said, this is only a snapshot.” She will definitely submit the datasheet to her physician.

This is how the measurement process works

  • For the vein screening with the Bodytronic 200, the expert advisor attaches optical sensors just above the inside of the ankle, at parallel positions on both legs. They emit infrared light into the skin. A photodetector records the amount of light reflected from the deeper layers of skin. It depicts the fill level of the venous plexus, which changes when a defined movement sequence is carried out. Infrared light is exactly matched to the absorption spectrum of the red blood pigment hemoglobin and therefore ensures maximum signal sensitivity.
  • The system first determines the skin’s blood perfusion at rest – the baseline for the LRR curve.
  • The patient then activates the calf muscle pump by raising and lowering the forefoot when sitting, with the heel on the floor. An acoustic signal and a visualization of the measurement process help to perform this movement correctly. The movement causes the skin vessels to empty, and venous pressure reduces. This makes the skin lighter which increases the LRR signal to the highest point on the curve.
  • During the next pause between movements, the vessels fill up with blood again, thanks to the simultaneous flowing back of venous blood and the influx of arterial blood. The change in fill level is recorded against time.
  • The result is the refill time in seconds. It provides information on how well the superficial venous system is working. The shorter the refill time, the more severely damaged the vein function may be.

Images: Frank Steinhorst

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