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 NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>