IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

IIT-B team develops low-cost aid to detect heart defects

Posted on: January 3, 2011

by DNA
A low-cost, “point of care system” being developed by a team at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, which diagnoses cardiac diseases that go undetected in 40% of cases, is now ready for market trials.

To take the project to the next level, the IIT-B team headed by professor V Ramgopal Rao from the department of electrical engineering and professor Soumyo Mukherji from the department of biosciences and bioengineering, are now in the process of incubating their company at IIT-B’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE).

“According to recent estimates, a large chunk of the world’s cardiac patients will be in India by 2010-11. However, cardiac-related care is almost non-existent in smaller hospitals and primary healthcare centres. Our project is expected to fulfill this need,” said Rao.

“Further, ECG scans don’t show heart problems in certain cases. So a more accurate diagnosis and better levels of testing is required. The system we’re developing is a screening technology and lab tests have shown that it has the potential to detect a heart problem within minutes. Quick detection is key to saving lives,” he added.

The product’s USP, says the IIT-B team, are immediate detection by the patient’s bedside and very low cost. The aim is to develop a single hand-held package costing less than Rs100. “Currently, diagnosis is done at pathological labs in big hospitals and the cost runs into thousands. Since such tests cannot be done at villages or remote places, many people shy away from getting tests done until it’s an extreme case,” said Rao.

A lab prototype has been developed and it has the capability of detecting cardiac markers in blood within a few minutes. The same device can be developed to detect RDX and other explosives. The next phase will include trial runs at hospitals, which will start soon.

“We need to demonstrate its performance in real field conditions and show that it is not inferior to any existing technology. We would like to make the final product available in the market within the next two years and SINE will help facilitate that process,” said Rao.

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