New diagnostic tool for peripheral arterial disease in diabetics shows promise

31 August 2012

Scientists have developed a new optical diagnostic tool which could be used to identify and monitor peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in people with diabetes.

PAD is one of the most serious complications of diabetes. It is marked by a narrowing of the arteries due to plaque accumulation and often results in insufficient blood flow to the body's extremities, thereby raising cardiovascular risk.

A paper published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express unveiled a device which could make it much easier to diagnose and check up on PAD.

The non-invasive imaging technique is known as dynamic diffuse optical tomography imaging (DDOT), and uses near-infrared light, which tracks the concentration of haemoglobin the body's tissue.

Using this, physicians would be able to see how effectively blood is flowing to a patient's hands and feet.

Michael Khalil, of Columbia University, noted:  “We’ve successfully used DDOT to detect PAD in the lower extremities.

“One key reason why DDOT shows so much promise as a diagnostic and monitoring tool is that, unlike other methods, it can provide maps of oxy, deoxy and total hemoglobin concentration throughout the foot and identify problematic regions that require intervention.”

Posted by Edward Bartel


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