Scientists at the University of Strathclyde have developed a system to monitor wounds that could ease the suffering and speed up the healing process for thousands of patients.

The Medical Diagnostics Research Group has developed a minimally-invasive sensor system which monitors a wound without removing the dressing, which can often have implications on the healing process and patient care.

Wound healing is a major problem for many patients including diabetics, those with vascular diseases and accident victims and places a high burden of care on the healthcare system. Patients also often have a poor quality of life due to wound healing problems.

 “To allow wounds such as diabetic and venous ulcers and pressures sores to heal it is vital that an optimal level of moisture is maintained on the surface of the wound and the dressing," said Professor Patricia Connolly.

“There is currently no system which allows for a dressing to be checked without removing the dressing and disturbing the wound area - an often painful process which disrupts the healing cycle.”

The system has been tested on a sophisticated wound bed model and found to perform exceptionally well. The next step is to transfer the system into a clinical device suitable for placing or incorporating in a wound dressing so the wound and dressing can be monitored by the patient, nurse or attending physician.

The clinical system will comprise a simple, disposal sensor that can be used with a wide range of currently available dressings and a small hand-held meter which the carer, patient or nurse can use as required to monitor the condition of the wound and obtain guidance as to when the dressing should be changed.

Professor Connolly and her team were awarded £199,750 Proof of Concept funding from Scottish Enterprise and the next step is the manufacture and clinical testing of the prototype system.