Early warning boost for intensive care patients

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Early warning boost for intensive care patients

Lindsay Clark
A spin-off from Oxford University has pioneered software that enables early detection of problems in intensive care patients.

The system from Oxford Bio Signals (OBS) was first used in prognostics products in aircraft engines and is installed in Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

A two-year trial of OBS Biosign patient monitoring technology at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is due to end in June. The company, which is backed by Rolls-Royce, will then start clinical studies in Indianapolis, US.

The system monitors a patient's five vital signs of heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation.

Medical staff have used these data for more than 40 years but instead of setting a safety threshold for each parameter, in line with current practice, the software combines them.

By applying algorithms and signal processing techniques to the data, and comparing it to population data, the system aims to predict a downturn in the patient's condition before any individual threshold is passed.

The US trial will include between 250 and 350 patients and will be conducted over 10 months.

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