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 Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Researchers catch extreme waves with higher-resolution modeling
15.02.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>