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Healthcare Innovation Centre

SepsisPoC - sepsis point-of-care diagnostic system using cavity enhanced absorption

SepsisPoC - sepsis point-of-care diagnostic system using cavity enhanced absorption

Sepsis is a life-threating illness which can arise unpredictably and progress very quickly. It is caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. The body releases immune chemicals into the blood to combat infection. The chemicals cause inflammation and blood flow is impaired which deprives organs of nutrients and leads to organ damage.

This project will develop a low cost and portable optical instrument which is up to a 100 times more sensitive than the conventional instrument. It will also develop a disposable cartridge for a fingerprick of a patient's blood. The disposable cartridge will be placed into the instrument and measurements are made of a number of key chemicals (biomarkers).

The amount of these biomarkers present in blood gives information about the septic patient's status. It is better to measure a number of biomarkers than a single biomarker.

Sepsis is difficult to identify and so each year even in a rich country like the UK we lose 44,000 lives to the condition. Every hour that the sepsis is undiagnosed increases the risk of death by 6-10%. Early diagnosis is important so that treatment can start as quickly as possible and reduce the number of deaths. The optical instrument will be portable and easy to use. It could be made available in a GP's surgery, within an ambulance or within an emergency department making it easier to identify sepsis earlier and completely change the way that we treat it.