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Mobile system for non-invasive wound state monitoring

WOUNDMONITOR will apply gas sensor array technology in an innovative diagnostic system that will enable non-invasive sampling of volatiles, helping diagnosis of the onset and type of bacterial infections in critically ill patients suffering from burns or serious wounds.



The treatment of critically ill patients suffering from burns, chronic skin ulcers or serious wounds, is often complicated by infection. Early detection of bacterial and/or fungal infections is a well identified problem in healthcare, where there are significant scientific and technical problems to be overcome.


WOUNDMONITOR will apply state of the art sensor technology for research and development on an innovative diagnostic system that will enable

  • non-invasive sampling of volatiles emitted from burns, skin ulcers or gaping wounds
  • rapid processing of such samples with a mobile laboratory-based multi-technology gas sensor array and pattern recognition
  • rapid diagnosis of changes in state of a patient,
  • assistance to medical personnel in decision-making in the treatment of such patients.
  • enhancement of patient safety and personalisation of healthcare and lifestyle management for patients.

Project Description : The systems of health care in the European Union and the New EU Countries face the challenge of attaining simultaneously the three-fold objective of access to care for everyone, a high level of quality in the care provided and the financial viability of health care systems. This project meets the challenge by aiming at the long-term objective to develop new medical instruments and/or intelligent diagnosis equipment for healthcare of the future, using advanced sensing systems. The project intends to solve well-identified scientific/technical problems related to acquisition of accurate data for healthcare and to explore new concepts for the integrated systems for health. The research project involves teams from 4 European Countries, namely UK , Germany , Italy and Lithuania . WOUNDMONITOR aims to combine a laboratory-based sensor module, pattern recognition subsystem and non-invasive sampling of volatiles emitted from such wounds into highly intelligent system that allows the rapid processing of these samples and is capable of assisting in early and rapid diagnosis of changes in state of a patient, and aid decision making by medical personnel in the treatment of such patients.

The main purposes of WOUNDMONITOR are

    • Adaptation of electronic nose technology to a personalised monitoring system capable of early detection and identification of the wound clinical infection.
    • Definition of the relationship between the gas sensor outputs and the microbiological data and medical information on the tissue and person levels. Integration of the available information into a snapshot of the state of the patient’s health.
    • Combination of several gas sensor types in an integral sensor module.
    • Implementing methods for the dynamic data recording and analysis in the electronic nose technology and adapting of the recognition algorithms to automate diagnosis.
    • Development of a prototype system based on electronic nose technology


The Partners

The University of Manchester, UK, is coordinator of this programme funded by the European Commission (IST-2004-027859). This 2.2 MEuro project commenced January 2006. The project is funded for three years with partners from

  • The University of Manchester (School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science)
  • Puslaidininkiu Fizikos Institutas, Lithuania,
  • Kaunas Medical University Hospital, Lithuania,
  • CNR-Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia, Brescia, Italy,
  • Biodiversity SPA, Italy,
  • Umwelt-Systemtechnik GmbH, Germany,
  • Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery at South Manchester University Hospitals Trust.

Work Packages

The project consists of several work-packages that include

  • Investigation of the volatile compounds acceptable as markers of individual infectious agents in wounds.
  • Research on development of non-invasive sampling of the volatile products of the infectious agents for presentation to a sensor system.
  • Description of basic principles of multi-technology arrays of volatile chemical sensors optimised to key markers of clinical infections of wounds in specific medical applications.
  • Implementing dynamic signal processing and pattern recognition algorithms to automate early diagnosis of clinical infections.
  • Manufacture of portable prototype systems for demonstration and laboratory testing.
  • Testing such systems in a clinical environment to evaluate acceptability and effectiveness of the diagnosis / prognosis.

Expected Results & Impacts The impact of this research is at several levels. The medical field and patients will benefit from better diagnostic procedures. Success in the this challenging field and the utilization of microsystems will give positive visibility to the field, not only amongst the world-wide scientific community but, due to the tangible results and subsequent applications, also heighten the perception of average European citizens to new technological developments.

A non-invasive monitoring system for wound healing will be a new innovative tool to improve the quality of life and health of patients with serious wounds. The project will lead to low cost products of significant market horizon and social impact. The new sensor system will allow the implementation of EU and international policies, which refer to numerous societal and medical problems.

Project Summary Project co-ordinator: The University of Manchester
Contact person: Professor Krishna Persaud
Tel: +44 (0) 161 3064892
Fax: +44 (0) 161 306 4879
Email: Krishna.persaud@manchester.ac.uk
Website: www.manchester.ac.uk/woundmonitor

  • Timetable: from 01/2006 – to 12/2008
  • Total cost: €2,242,496
  • EC funding: €1,665,687
  • Instrument: STREP
  • Project Identifier: FPn°-2004-IST-027859


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