26 June 2015
A team at the University of Manchester have found a new approach to more quickly and accurately diagnose infections in critically ill patients.
Researchers found that chemically analysing breath specimens from patients in intensive care could reveal the presence of a bacterial infection in the lower respiratory tract of ventilated patients at risk of developing pneumonia.
Although these are initial findings, the study could potentially have a significant impact on clinical practice as healthcare associated infections are a major issue worldwide.
Dr Paul Dark, one of the research team and honorary consultant in intensive care medicine at Salford Royal, said when patients are admitted their safety is crucial and one of the most significant risks is that they will develop an infection.
Patients in intensive care are the most vulnerable and despite the highest quality safety measures some will still develop infections, with one of the most common being pneumonia.
Current methods of confirming the presence of infections involve laboratory tests of samples from deep in the lungs, which can take days. The new approach captures and measures breath chemicals of patients on mechanical ventilators, which is much quicker.
The study is published in full in the journal Thorax.
Posted by Phillip Briggs
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