Smart wound sensor trial begins

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have been awarded a £902,524 grant from the Medical Research Council to develop a smart wound dressing embedded with optical fibre sensors to assess whether affected tissue is healing or infected.

A trial is being carried out University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

Wound management currently costs around £8.3 billion a year - more than four per cent of the NHS budget. Diabetes-related foot ulcers represent between £837 and £962 million of the cost. It is believed that better wound monitoring has the potential to reduce the 7,000 plus lower limb amputations for people with diabetes in England every year.

Ten patients with diabetes-related foot ulcers will have the dressings applied and monitored on a fortnightly basis for eight weeks.

Professor Steve Morgan, co-director of the Centre for Healthcare Technologies and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Nottingham, said: “Currently, regular wound redressing is the only way to visually assess healing rates, which can be detrimental as it can encourage infection and disrupt progress – not to mention the resulting economic burden on NHS resources.

"This has the potential to indicate the optimum time for changing the dressing and could alert clinicians about whether an intervention is required for an infected or slow-healing wound. If successful, the impact would be a reduction in the number of healthcare appointments along with improved patient care.”

Professor Fran Game, consultant diabetologist and clinical director of research and development and the Derby Clinical Trials Support Unit at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB), said: "Technologies to monitor wounds remotely and assess when things are going well or not so well, have the potential to have a significant impact on patients’ lives and health service costs.

"Equally, knowing very quickly that wound healing had stalled, or an infection had developed, would mean that we could commence appropriate treatments much more promptly which would improve outcomes.

"I’m thrilled that the first trials of this device are being conducted at UHDB and that patients with diabetes will have the opportunity to support such ground-breaking research."


Image by Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay