Detecting and Monitoring Incontinence Associated Dermatitis: Does Impedance Spectroscopy Have a Part to Play?

Emily J. Owen, Rachel A. Heylen, Paul G. Winyard, Kyle Stewart, A.Toby A. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


In this review, current understanding of the prevention and treatment of Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD) is discussed. The need for preventative measures which target specific faecal/urinary irritants is highlighted, including the role of urease inhibitors. There is no existing internationally and clinically accepted method to diagnose and categorise the severity of IAD. Diagnosis currently relies on visual inspection; non-invasive techniques to assess skin barrier function could remove subjectiveness, particularly in darker skin tones. Impedance spectroscopy is a non-invasive technique which can be used to monitor skin barrier function, supporting visual assessments. Six studies (2003–2021) which used impedance to assess dermatitis were reviewed; inflamed skin was distinguishable from healthy skin in each case. This suggests that impedance spectroscopy could be useful in diagnosis early-stage IAD, potentially enabling earlier intervention. Finally, the authors present their initial findings on the role of urease in skin breakdown in an in vivo IAD model, using impedance spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Early online date7 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

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Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: EJO would like to thank the University of Bath and ConvaTec Ltd. for funding the PhD research and supporting this project. RAH thanks the Annette Trust and EPSRC for funding the PhD research. KS and PGW are co-founders of Watercress Research Limited and hold patent filings related to the preparation and uses of watercress extracts (owned by the University of Exeter, Exeter, UK).


  • Bioelectric data acquisition
  • biomedical devices
  • dermatology
  • diagnostic monitoring
  • impedance spectroscopy
  • incontinence associated dermatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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