Ground-breaking inflight health monitor on the anvil

April 23rd, 2010 - 2:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, April 23 (ANI): Scientists are developing a system by which passengers will be able to monitor their risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), by using a new do-it-yourself test.

According to the research, the new system will assess travellers’ risk by using just a drop of blood, and it will be especially useful for passengers on long-haul flights.

The test, a computerised plastic strip, will analyse blood-clotting markers that indicate a high risk of DVT, and it can be carried by anyone at risk of clotting disorders, including stroke patients, pregnant women and the obese.

The technology is being developed by researchers from eight European countries, and initially it was planned that physicians would read the results through a hand-held scanner.

However it is now expected that the device will become similar to the personal monitors carried by diabetics to check their insulin levels.

DVT, a blood clot, which forms in the leg veins, can travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can result in the lungs collapsing and heart failure, can be caused by immobility on airline flights.

Professor Karlheinz Bock, head of Polytronic Systems at German research institute Fraunhofer IZM, which is taking part in the EU project, said the device “shows clearly the possibilities for polytronics”.

It is hoped the new technology will be more reliable than current medical tests, leading to better patient care.

“Medical tests currently used to detect the illness can be unreliable,” quoted the research as stating.

“Healthcare workers are referring suspected patients for expensive diagnostic imaging, with only 20 to 30 per cent of these patients actually being diagnosed with a blood clot.

“Anticoagulation drugs, which can have other unwanted side effects, are also administered unnecessarily to suspected patients. This places a heavy burden on healthcare resources,” it concluded. (ANI)

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