Pioneering device provides early detection for foot problems in diabetics

by Barbara Hewitt on September 12, 2014

Researchers in the UK have developed a pioneering piece of equipment which could significantly reduce the risk of ulceration and amputation in people with diabetes.


The patient can simply press a button on the device and send the test results to their GP

The diagnostic device called the PerSeNT (Peripheral Sensory Neuropathy Test) has been developed by a team at the London South Bank University (LSBU) that scans the feet to look at major skin breaches and through pressure mapping, detects the loss of sensation associated with ulceration.

The patient can simply press a button which will send the results directly to their GP, providing objective data which is significantly more accurate than the current subjective test used by GPs. The data, once recorded by the device, can be sent online to clinicians anywhere in the world.

Researchers hope the device will be rolled out in clinical settings such as GP surgeries, pharmacies and care homes, and reduce the need and cost for trained clinicians to test for ‘peripheral neuropathy’, the condition that can lead to ulceration and subsequent limb amputation.

‘With costs of treating diabetes set to reach £17 Billion by 2035, this new piece of equipment  developed in partnership between the Science and Engineering departments at LSBU, could have significant treatment and surgery cost savings for the NHS,’ said Dr. Michelle Spruce, head of the Allied Sciences Department at LSBU who led the project.

‘This extraordinary and much needed diagnostic piece of equipment will offer a community based solution to a major problem affecting millions of people. As a result, clinical assistants will be able to test patients much more regularly and in a more reliable and rigorous manner,’ she explained.

‘Its use in care homes will also eliminate the need for patients to travel to their clinic or GP. The earlier that peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed, the lower the chance of developing serious complications later on,’ she added.

‘Overall, this affordable piece of equipment will have a dramatic effect on the quality of life and independence of many diabetes and obesity sufferers as well as clear economic benefit to health providers worldwide,’ she concluded.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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