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Non Invasive Test Diagnoses Bladder Disease

Non Invasive Test Diagnoses Bladder Disease

A device originally developed to measure oxygen flow to the brain following heart bypass surgery, has been adapted to diagnose bladder disease, eliminating the need for invasive tests. The new device attaches to a belt worn by the patient and transmits data wirelessly back to a computer to be analyzed by the doctors.

A recent study has demonstrated the test’s accuracy in diagnosing men with difficulty passing urine due to possible prostatic enlargement; proving it to be just as reliable as standard invasive tests in which a cystoscope – an type of endoscope – is inserted into the urethra.

To detect problems in the bladder, the team at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Child Family Research Institute (CFRI), led by Dr. Andrew Macnab, developed a wireless near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device which is placed on the patient over the bladder.

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NIRS Device To Diagnose Bladder Disease

The device beams infrared light into the bladder while software analyzes the amount of light that passes through, and returns from the bladder wall. The data transmitted wirelessly to a computer, reveals changes in hemoglobin and oxygen levels, which allows the researchers to spot any problems.

Researchers a pediatrics and urology professor at UBC and Head of the NIRS study group at the Bladder Care Centre at UBC Hospital, originally developed used the technology to oxygen and blood flow to the brain, but was later developed to measure oxygen and blood flow in the bladder muscle.

Previous studies had only included adults, however the new study – which netted the team an award for Best Research in Female Urology from the American urological Association also involved children; proving the tests accuracy in diagnosing the younger generation.

Macnab, a pediatrics and urology professor at UBC and Head of the NIRS study group at the Bladder Care Centre at UBC Hospital and a senior scientist at CFRI, said:

“Currently, diagnosing bladder dysfunction usually requires an invasive test that involves urethral and rectal catheter insertion to measure bladder pressure and urine output – a stressful and painful procedure that provides a limited amount of physiologic information,”

Dr. Kourosh Afshar, an urologist at BC Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor at UBC, noted the that the invasive nature of the device is especially beneficial for children as its easy application causes no anxiety, and doesn’t limit the patient’s ability to move and/or empty their bladder.

The team is now exploring the use of wireless NIRS to investigate bladder function in patients with spinal cord injury, and long-term monitoring as a way to improve the quality of life in patients with urinary incontinence due to a range of problems.

The study was published in the current issue of the International Journal of Spectroscopy.

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