New pinprick test could detect a stroke and save lives

Pinprick blood test

A new test which only requires a pinprick of blood, could find out within minutes if someone has suffered a stroke.

The new sensor may also be able to identify the severity of the stroke by calculating levels of a tell-tale compound in the blood. Doctors are hoping that the sensor, which is currently on trial at NHS hospitals, could help save lives because of its fast diagnosis.

The technology was developed at the University of Warwick and is being trialled at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust. The sensor works by finding changing levels of purine, which is a type of chemical compound in the patient’s blood.

These compounds are produced within moments when cells are starved of oxygen and glucose during a stroke.

A new trial will see blood samples taken from 400 stroke patients when they are taken into hospital to test for purine levels. Doctors will look at whether the results tallied with the extent of the damage caused by the result. CT scans will also be carried out to assess the damage.

Commenting on the study, Dr Yaqoob Bhat, clinical director of stroke medicine at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, told the Daily MailStroke is one of the most fatal medical emergencies and there is no specific blood test which helps in confirming the diagnosis.”

Dr Bhat said the outcome of the study will be “very informative” and “if proven clinically significant, purine levels may help in the diagnosis and management of acute stroke and differentiating this from stroke mimics.” Being able to quickly identify the condition and treating it promptly to restore blood flow is essential to improving the outcome of the patient.

Currently, there is no quick way to identify the problem. Ordinarily, a patient will arrive at the hospital where CT scans are carried out to check for bleeding on the brain as well as a string of other tests. However, this can be time-consuming.

It is hoped that this new sensor could tackle the problem by providing a fast diagnosis. In the future, the sensor may be used to identify people at greater risk of a stroke and help prevent them.

Public Health England said that strokes are a leading cause of death and disability in the UK, with more than 100,000 cases each year.

Stroke Association is a leading UK charity and explained that a stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. A stroke can affect the way the body works, as well as how you think, feel and communicate.

As we get older our arteries become harder and narrower which means there is a higher chance of them becoming blocked. However, other factors such as lifestyle can speed up the process and increase your risk of having a stroke.

There are different types of stroke including an ischaemic stroke, a haemorrhagic stroke and a transient ischaemic attack.

The charity states that someone has a stroke every five minutes in the UK and if you suspect someone is having a stroke you must call 999 immediately.

Afterwards, stroke patients may find day-to-day tasks more difficult than before. People may need the help of mobility, leisure, kitchen and bathroom aids to help make things easier. There are many useful items available including adapted cutlery, non-slip mats and technology such as a stairlift.

 This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.