Development of a wireless accelerometer-based Intravaginal device to detect pelvic floor motion for evaluation of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is experienced by an estimated 51% of women in the U.S. and often results from impaired function or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is a frontline nonsurgical treatment, yet a number of symptomatic individuals cannot accurately perform a pelvic floor muscle contraction with simple verbal or written instruction. Long-term adherence to PFMT regimens is often a barrier to resolution of symptoms. Various biofeedback tools have been utilized to aid correct pelvic floor muscle performance and adherence. One novel device, the leva® Pelvic Digital Health System, utilizes an intravaginal probe embedded with MEMS accelerometer sensors that allow real-time visualization of the shape and motion of the vagina during PFMT. Early positive results with this device prompted design of a wearable version. The purpose of this study was to design a wearable, wireless clinical research device to optimize MEMS accelerometer sensor placement to detect maximal movement during a pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) and to test the form factor for retention and user acceptability. The device comprised a ring designed to sit at the fornix with an extension following the length of the vagina. This paper presents design components and results from clinical testing of 10 subjects. It was determined that a ring form factor alone, similar to other vaginal rings (pessaries, estrogen rings) provided less accurate visual information about PFME performance. By contrast, we determined that a ring with an extension allowed for device retention and improved real-time detection of vaginal shape and motion during PFMT.