For example, consider a patient with a persistent headache, lasting 18 to 20 hours. The patient has tried over-the-counter medications to no avail and is now experiencing nausea and visual impairment. Is it sinusitis" Migraine" Or perhaps a hemorrhagic stroke" Current technology takes hours to indicate the source of the problem. The improved point-of-care technologies could take a matter of one or two minutes. If the source is a migraine, then the patient would be referred to a general practitioner. If its meningitis, then a spinal tap is called for. However, if its an acute rupture of an artery in the brain, a CT scan is usually performed but is not effective after 12 hours following the event. A spinal tap would be called for but the information is often unreliable.
When a patient comes to an emergency room with a headache, blood and urine samples are routinely drawn. Spinal fluid tests are rarely used because of the minimal return on chemical information, says Clark. Current protocol would dictate sending the sample out for a biochemical assay, taking three to four hours. If the problem is a subarachnoid hemorrhage, its going to rupture again. But in doing the spinal tap, more blood might be introduced by the tap itself, making diagnosis difficult.
To address this, an instrument in development now is the size of a shoebox, into which the spinal fluid is introduced. Within three minutes, the instrument can distinguish hemoglobin and bilirubin (which indicates the breakdown of hemoglobin) from blood cells that might be present because of the procedure itself.
Beyette and Clark say that the center will be ramping up activities over the coming weeks and will soon be issuing a national call for proposals.
Winning this award speaks very highly of the quality of our team and the outstanding level of
|Contact: Wendy Beckman|
University of Cincinnati