Innovation

Fatal Kidney Condition Diagnosis Hastened By App

Doctors may soon easily detect a life-threatening kidney condition and provide treatments faster. A new mobile phone app promises to complete diagnosis within minutes. 

Current methods used to determine acute kidney injury takes hours to complete. This condition causes rapid decline in the organ’s function that could lead to long-term kidney damage and death. 

But the acute kidney injury can be prevented or treated if diagnosed early. One of its leading causes is chronic kidney disease, which affects 37 million American adults to date, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Despite the need for immediate diagnosis, nine in 10 people with the kidney condition do not know they have it, the CDC said. This is what the new Streams mobile app wants to address. 

The app was created by London's Royal Free Hospital and Alphabet-owned DeepMind tech company in the United Kingdom. Developers said Streams alerts clinicians in real time by sending easy-to-read results and graphs detailing the condition of a patient, the BBC reported Thursday.

During tests at Royal Free Hospital, the mobile app provided doctors and nurses the results within an average of 14 minutes. Traditional methods commonly take hours to complete the same diagnosis. 

Participants said the app significantly reduced their tasks and costs of diagnosis. 

"It's a huge change to be able to receive alerts about patients anywhere in the hospital," Mary Emerson, lead nurse specialist at the Royal Free, told the BBC. "Healthcare is mobile and real time, and this is the first device that has enabled me to see results in a mobile real-time way."

Streams And Detecting Acute Kidney Injury

Developers described Streams in a report published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine. They said the app significantly improved how doctors detect acute kidney injury.

Sally Hamour, a kidney specialist at Royal Free, said the app is "potentially lifesaving." The team now plans to test Streams at other hospitals in the U.K. 

"We need to gather a lot more information about this technology and we need to look at it over a longer time frame," Hamour said. 

Streams Streams is a new app designed to detect acute kidney injury within minutes. Pixabay

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