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City Biomedical Engineering academic on the quest for new blood monitoring technology

With funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Professor Panicos Kyriacou will lead on the development of novel technology for monitoring blood lactate levels in critical care patients experiencing shock.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Professor Panicos Kyriacou, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at City, University of London, is leading the design and development of a novel optical sensor for the continuous monitoring of lactate in blood.

High levels of lactate or lactic acid in blood are pronounced in cases of shock, heart failure and dangerous infections such as sepsis or blood poisoning.

Haemorrhagic shock

Shock is one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, and poses a significant and abiding challenge for healthcare globally and within the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Haemorrhagic shock alone accounts for four out of every five deaths during surgery.

In most patients with life-threatening shock, blood lactate levels are routinely measured to aid assessment and treatment. The levels of lactate in blood act as a marker in assessing response to therapy and guiding treatment in patients with life-threatening shock. For this reason, lactate measurements are routinely carried out in critically ill patients. 

Though currently unavailable, there is an increasing demand for non-invasive and continuous monitoring of blood lactate or lactic acid in blood; present solutions for determining lactate are invasive, time consuming and inhibit the continuous monitoring of this vitally important critical care marker.

The aim of Professor Kyriacou’s research project, titled 'Multi-parametric optical sensing for monitoring haemodynamic shock', and funded by a £792k grant from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is to design and develop a new non-invasive optical sensor for continuous monitoring of lactate in blood, utilising novel multi-parametric spectroscopic analysis technology, combined with multivariate modelling.

Professor Kyriacou, who is also the Director of City's Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering, is the principal investigator; the co-investigator is Professor Pankaj Vadgama, Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Biomedical Materials at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The project will contribute new knowledge which is expected to impact the UK medical and biomedical engineering sectors.

The success of this research will have a direct impact on the timeliness of subsequent interventions, minimising harm to the patients and saving cost to the NHS.  Patients admitted into ICUs have a higher mortality rate and longer hospitalisation periods.

Definition
Haemodynamic

Relating to the flow of blood within the organs and tissues of the body.

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