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Published: 20 October 2016

How a selfie of your heart could detect blood poisoning

Over 44,000 people die in the UK after contracting blood poisoning (sepsis) every year and detection is often too late for successful treatment. Research led by Professor Aston of Surrey’s Department of Mathematics, however, may point to a solution: it demonstrates that diagnosing patients by analysing a blood pressure signal using a novel mathematical method could be the key to early diagnosis.

Professor Aston and collaborator Dr Manasi Nandi (Kings College London), presented their research at the recent British Science Festival 2016m, outlining the development of code for analysing blood pressure signals to see if it can robustly predict the early development of sepsis.

The presentation included a demonstration of a fingertip monitor on members of the audience to collect signals which are then turned into a ‘cardiomorph’ – a visualisation of how the heart is functioning.

Professor Aston said: “This visualisation, which I describe as a ‘selfie’ of your heart, gives us important information. The next step we are researching is how we can use this data to get diagnostic information. With sepsis resulting in more deaths in the UK every year than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined, the use of readily available physiological data to detect sepsis early has the potential to bring real impact.”

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