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Canterbury researcher plans to produce world first sensor

Canterbury researcher plans to produce world first sensor with Christchurch Hospital

June 26, 2014

A leading University of Canterbury mechanical engineering researcher will undertake world first clinical trials at Christchurch Hospital to help patients with cardiovascular and circulatory resuscitation issues in intensive care.

Cardiovascular dysfunction, shock and cardiac surgery are leading causes of intensive care unit admissions, University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase says.

``These patients comprise about 30 percent of all intensive care admissions to New Zealand hospitals. Recent modelling advances at the University of Canterbury have shown a way to measure circulatory system response to care that was not previously possible,’’ Professor Chase says.

He has received a two-year $193,000 funding grant from the Health Research Council’s International Relationship Fund which aims to facilitate collaborative research with European colleagues.

His team, including Dr Chris Pretty, PhD Student Shun Kamoi and Associate Professor Geoff Shaw at Christchurch Hospital’s Department of Intensive Care, will work with Belgian researchers from the University of Liege using models and clinical data to improve care and outcome for intensive care patients.

Professor Chase plans to develop and validate his team’s recent modeling advance that enables real-time, beat-to-beat estimation of the blood stroke-volume from existing catheter measurements.

``Cardiovascular and circulatory resuscitation is a common need in the intensive care unit for patients after heart attack, with shock, or major infection and organ failure, among others. It is needed when the heart is not pumping efficiently or effectively enough to push blood through the body to provide nutrients and remove waste products.

``It is a leading cause of poor outcome and death in intensive care and effects about 450 patients a year in Christchurch and 3000 patients a year across New Zealand. In particular, it is very hard to find the best use of drugs to help the heart pump enough blood to keep the body alive. The stroke volume of blood pumped every heart beat is the key measure. A large stroke volume means the heart is doing its job properly and well.

``The main problem is that currently we cannot non-invasively measure this stroke volume every beat, so less effective surrogate measurements are used. Our research at Canterbury uses existing measurements and computer models to measure stroke volume in real-time to solve this problem and provide the right measurement to titrate care.

``The resulting model-based sensor will be validated at the end of our research in world first clinical trials at Christchurch Hospital,’’ Professor chase says.


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