Project Lead(s): Andrew Macnab
The burden of urinary tract disease extends from local bladder pathology to renal failure, stroke, hypertension and early death.
In Uganda, a significant number of people experience chronic problems or die from these diseases.
Resources to investigate or treat urinary tract pathologies are limited in low- and middle- income countries, and bladder disease commonly goes unrecognized until major problems develop.
Inexpensive optical devices (similar to oximeters already in use) can now be used to screen for early signs of bladder outlet obstruction and identify where those affected can benefit from effective and widely available treatment.
The objective of this project was to develop a screening device able to detect early signs of bladder obstruction in a simple, culturally acceptable and painless manner.
The team had previously developed technology that uses light to monitor the bladder non-invasively through the skin as a patient spontaneously passes urine, using an approach known as near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS).
NIRS monitors changes in hemoglobin concentration in the bladder wall, which enables the ‘health’ of the organ’s hemodynamics and oxygenation to be inferred.
Where there is bladder obstruction, the organ's hemodynamics and oxygenation are affected and software in the NIRS device can identify in real time when there is a problem that will benefit from treatment.
The project achieved proof of concept and developed a simple version of the NIRS optical bladder monitoring device .
The team showed that, with training, the device can be used by clinic staff in rural Uganda to screen for early signs of bladder disease. Through the first survey of its kind to be conducted in Africa, the team also showed that obstructive bladder disease represents a considerable health burden.
Details of the project have been shared in Computational Intelligence and Efficiency in Engineering Systems, SPIE Proceedings-Photonics Therapeutics and Diagnostics and Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging, and were discussed at conferences.