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2024-05-24 press release

Wearable vein checker: AI helps with early detection of thrombosis

The VDE is participating in a new EU project to improve the diagnosis and prevention of deep vein thrombosis. An international team of experts is developing an AI-based, portable diagnostic device. The aim is to improve prevention and diagnosis and reduce the burden on doctors using the new technology. The project is being funded by the Horizon Europe program with 9.5 million euros.

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(Frankfurt a. M., 24.05.2024) Small clot – big consequences: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) poses a significant health risk worldwide and can even have life-threatening consequences. Although they can be treated, unfortunately they are often only recognized late. The reason: up to two thirds of cases show no symptoms. An international team of experts wants to close this gap. Their idea: a portable diagnostic device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor patients and detect blood clots at an early stage. The use of the intelligent medical wearable is intended to reduce the burden on doctors and improve prevention and diagnosis. The ThrombUS+ project, which was launched in January and in which the VDE is also involved, is being funded for three and a half years with 9.5 million euros in the EU's Horizon Europe program.

AI in medicine: meeting challenges – seizing opportunities

"There are numerous challenges when developing a wearable for the diagnosis and prevention of deep vein thrombosis," explains VDE employee Thorsten Prinz. "On the one hand, the technical components must be miniaturized for the intended purpose without compromising the quality of the clinical data generated. On the other hand, there are regulatory challenges when placing a complex AI-based medical device on the market, such as the European Medical Device Regulation (MDR) or the AI Act recently passed by the EU Parliament, which sets out minimum requirements for trustworthy AI."

Together, the 18 interdisciplinary and international project partners from Greece (project lead Athena Research Center), Lithuania, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain and the USA want to tackle the various challenges.

Early detection thanks to medical wearable

A look at the figures shows just how important early detection is: In around half of those affected by DVT, the blood clot, which impairs normal blood flow, particularly in the veins of the lower limbs, travels to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Worldwide, pulmonary embolisms are the third most common cause of cardiovascular death after strokes and heart attacks.

To change this, the consortium is working on developing a portable and intelligent diagnostic technology. In the future, it should enable user-friendly, operator-free and continuous real-time monitoring for patients at high risk of DVT. The innovative approach combines AI-driven detection mechanisms based on ultrasound technology, impedance plethysmography (measurement of electrical AC resistance) and light reflection rheography (measurement using infrared light). The technical development is accompanied by clinical studies to ensure the safety and performance of the medical device.

The new technology will be used in particular for patients in the post-operative phase in hospital wards, during long-term surgical procedures, for cancer patients, bedridden people at home or in care facilities and women during and after pregnancy.

Bringing medical innovations to patients faster

The aim is to make the path of innovation to the patient as short as possible. To achieve this, the team incorporates legal, regulatory and safety requirements for complex medical devices into the development process as early as possible. "The VDE experts have in-depth specialist knowledge in the field of medical device regulation. This is why they ensure that the regulatory requirements are taken into account right from the start when developing and implementing the new AI-controlled technology," emphasizes Dr. Cord Schlötelburg, Head of the Health division at VDE.

Building on the clinical, technical and regulatory experience gained in the project, the aim is to sustainably improve the chances of future complex AI-based medical devices gaining market access.

About the German Society for Biomedical Engineering within VDE (VDE DGBMT)

The German Society for Biomedical Engineering in the VDE (VDE DGBMT) is the scientific and technical society for medical technology in Germany. It was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1961.  

The DGBMT in the VDE brings together experts from all areas of technology applications in medicine and deals with the entire range of topics in biomedical technology. It organizes conferences and workshops for expert audiences and is the sponsor of two international scientific journals: Biomedical Engineering and Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering published by Walter de Gruyter. Position papers, statements and expert contributions discuss current topics independently and neutrally. In addition, the DGBMT awards promotional prizes for young scientists, for scientific excellence and innovation, and for patient safety in biomedical engineering. Last but not least, it represents German biomedical engineering in international bodies.  

For more information, visit

About VDE

VDE, one of the largest technology organizations in Europe, has been regarded as a synonym for innovation and technological progress for more than 130 years. VDE is the only organization in the world that combines science, standardization, testing, certification, and application consulting under one umbrella. The VDE mark has been synonymous with the highest safety standards and consumer protection for more than 100 years. 

Our passion is the advancement of technology, the next generation of engineers and technologists, and lifelong learning and career development “on the job”. Within the VDE network more than 2,000 employees at over 60 locations worldwide, more than 100,000 honorary experts, and around 1,500 companies are dedicated to ensuring a future worth living: networked, digital, electrical.  
Shaping the e-dialistic future. 

The VDE (VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. For more information, visit