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
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
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
Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin
26.04.2018 | University of Minnesota
Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials
25.04.2018 | Carnegie Mellon University
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering