PADD probes PVD

An invention that shines light into the skin to detect early signs of heart disease and stroke could be on the market in less than two years.



The painless test takes no more than five minutes to detect Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), a condition that affects over 90 million people worldwide.



What starts off as blood flow problems in the feet can develop fatal consequences if left unchecked. Once diagnosed, one in three people die within five years.



But many deaths are preventable through early diagnosis, which is the aim of Dr Vincent Crabtree’s invention, PADD. Crabtree, an optical engineer from LoughboroughUniversity, was inspired by the plight of his grandfather who died at 55 after having his leg amputated due to PVD.



PADD represents a method to check out circulatory health that uses an infrared light beam no more powerful than a TV remote control. Quick and simple to use, this technology could replace the ankle brachial pressure index, a traditional pressure cuff measurement system.



“Current screening is time-consuming and requires skilled operators. It is also particularly unreliable on diabetics, who are extremely susceptible to PVD,” Crabtree explains. He continues: “PADD does not require any specialist training; it’s easy and safe to use and will be ideal for busy vascular clinics and GP surgeries.”



An infra red probe is held to the foot for a couple of minutes to assess how well the blood supply adapts to forces of gravity caused by postural changes such as getting out of bed and standing up.



The prototype technology is now undergoing a large clinical study at the RoyalFreeHospital, London. PADD is expected to have regulatory approval in Europe and America within two years.