Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technology improves odds for critically ill

17.03.2008
Large numbers of unnecessary deaths and avoidable medical complications in intensive care units (ICU) are attributable to the difficulties of treating high glucose levels in critically ill patients’ blood. That is about to change for the better thanks to a new automated insulin delivery system developed by European researchers.

A common side effect of stress and trauma in critically ill patients is a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. As with diabetes, the levels can be reduced and controlled by the infusion of insulin. But glucose levels peak and change much more quickly in the ICU environment and there is little room for trial and error. If the situation is not normalised, then complications and even deaths can and do occur.

Twice in the past, Europe-wide studies and trials were put in place to try and come up with a solution to the problem. But in both cases they were prematurely halted because researchers could not solve the problem of overcompensating and patients developing hypoglycaemia, or abnormally low blood sugar levels.

“What these studies did clearly indicate is that the establishment of normal glucose levels in critically ill patients is very difficult to achieve without some sort of automated system to help the nurses,” says Dr Martin Ellmerer, scientific coordinator of the CLINICIP project which has developed just such a system.

Nurses’ no-nonsense approach
CLINICIP started by surveying ICUs in a number of European hospitals and interviewing nursing staff. “We found out that ICU staff did not want to see additional catheters in patients, they did not want extra equipment taking up space, and costs had to be kept right down so as not to eat into funds for other vital equipment,” says Ellmerer. “So, right from the start the requirements were really tough.”

Partners in this EU-funded project, academic medical institutions plus one private-sector medical equipment manufacturer, decided they needed to develop a two-step approach. “We first developed a decision-support system which met all the criteria outlined by the ICU staff, and later developed a fully automated system,” he tells ICT Results.

At the heart of both systems is a sophisticated bit of computer software (an algorithm) written especially for this project.

With the decision-support system, nurses still have to draw blood from patients in the traditional way and test it for glucose levels. They enter the information via the user interface – a touch screen – the researchers have developed. The algorithm takes over at this stage, calculates how much insulin is needed and automatically administers it. It also alerts the nurse when a new blood sample needs to be taken and analysed – half an hour in the worst cases and up to four hours in less severe cases.

“We have fully functioning prototypes of the decision-support system which we successfully trialled in ICUs at different hospitals around Europe,” Ellmerer says. The project’s industrial partner, B. Braun Melsungen AG, is ready to go into commercial production of the system working together with the clinical partners.

“We will first have to go through an approval process and the systems should be commercially available to hospitals in mid-2009,” Ellmerer says. B. Braun is one of the leading manufacturers of infusion systems used in hospitals, and the CLINICIP technology will be incorporated into these as it was during the trials.

Developing the real deal
At the same time the prototype was being developed and tested, CLINICIP researchers were working on sensors for a fully automated, closed-loop control system to both monitor glucose levels and administer insulin with no involvement from a nurse.

The drawback of this is that a dedicated needle is necessary. “Unfortunately, this is unavoidable for a fully automated system,” Ellmerer points out. Using fibre-optic technology the needle draws blood, sends it for analysis and then returns it to the patient’s vein as well as administering the necessary dose of insulin.

“We have performed a proof-of-concept study to show we are able to establish glucose control in a clinical setting,” Ellmerer says.

To develop the sensor technology further and then commercialise it, a spin-off company will be set up with Ellmerer as CEO and one of the shareholders. The other shareholders are individuals from project partners in CLINICIP. The spin-off will work closely with B. Braun and the partners, although they are not stakeholders in it.

Ellmerer expects the fully automated two-step system to be commercially available in 2011.

“Our research and the products which result from it should have a pretty fundamental impact on ICUs,” he says. “They should improve survival chances, reduce complications, such as sepsis and organ failure, and reduce the time patients need to spend in ICUs.”

Ahmed ElAmin | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/id/89612

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>