A hand held device that could detect heart disease from a few drops of patient’s blood in less than 10 minutes is being created by a group of researchers.

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The device would allow doctors to give a diagnosis almost immediately, rather than patients having to wait hours.

Called the PHOCNOSIS Project, experts from St George’s, University of London are involved in designing the device and will test the prototype when it is created.

Professor Paul Collinson, from St George’s, University of London, said there is currently no portable device that is sensitive enough to detect heart damage without sending blood to the lab.

He said being able to rapidly diagnose heart disease would change people’s experiences of hospitals.

“We are focusing on heart disease as it is the largest single medical condition that brings people to hospital. But of the people who come in with suspected heart attacks, 70% do not have one” he said.

“The ability to do testing when I’m next to the patient and make a decision has a lot of benefits. It will give patients a better experience as they won’t have to wait in hospital beds for results.”

The device is being developed at Polytechnic University of Valencia using a new nanophotonic sensing technique to detect markers of heart disease. Each test would cost less than £3.

Blood tests account for 70% of medical decisions and clinical trials have shown that patient satisfaction is improved when results are delivered quickly.

The project is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 program and involves the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Bionos Biotech SL  and Genera Biotech SL (Spain), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and CDA GmbH (Germany), University of Twente (Netherlands), University of Aalborg (Denmark), EV Group GmbH (Austria) and Art of Technology AG (Switzerland).

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