Sepsis Detection: Device That Requires Only A Drop Of Blood Shows Promise

Sepsis is a condition that occurs due to the body’s extreme reaction to an infection. It can cause organ failure and lead to death. 

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) estimates that more than one million people suffer from severe sepsis every year in the U.S. The condition kills one in every 15 patients annually. 

NIGMS said that over the past years the number of sepsis cases is increasing across the country. The condition has been considered one of the leading causes of disability and death for Americans. 

Any person can experience sepsis. But the people with weaker immune system, like infants, children and the elderly, are at high risk. 

Serious injuries and medical problems such as cancer, liver disease, diabetes and AIDS, can also increase the chances that an individual may get sepsis. Amid the increasing prevalence of the condition, researchers are offering a new tool that could help prevent its effects. 

Diagnosing sepsis can help prevent death. Septic shock has been linked to premature death in most patients. 

"Many of the signs and symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are the same as in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. 

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created a new diagnostic tool designed to detect sepsis within 30 minutes. The team said the device is easy to use since it only requires a tiny drop of blood to analyze the patient’s risk. 

The diagnostic tool searches for the protein, interleukin-6 or IL-6, which is the top biomarker for sepsis. Researchers said the protein increases in the blood when sepsis starts to occur. 

The MIT team said their device is sensitive enough to identify the presence of IL-6. During tests, it only took nearly 25 minutes to analyze a 5 microliters of blood, Medical News Today reported Tuesday.

"For an acute disease such as sepsis, which progresses very rapidly and can be life threatening, it's helpful to have a system that rapidly measures these nonabundant biomarkers," Dan Wu, a doctoral student at MIT, said. "You can also frequently monitor the disease as it progresses."

Wu and his team said the sepsis diagnostic tool can also be modified to detect other biomarkers. 

blood sample Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created a new diagnostic tool designed to detect sepsis within 30 minutes and only with a tiny drop of blood. Pixabay