Novel device scans feet to prevent amputation

Thu, 11 Sep 2014
A new device, not dissimilar in appearance to bathroom scales, has been developed that scans the foot for early signs of foot damage, helping to prevent amputation .

Around 6,000 lower limb amputations are carried out on people with diabetes in the UK each year. Amputation is nearly always preventable if damage is spotted early and treatment received promptly.

The new technology is called the Peripheral Sensory Neuropathy Test, or PerSeNT for short. It has been developed by researchers at London South Bank University (LSBU). When a foot is placed on the machine, the device scans the surface of the foot to identify skin damage. Evidence of ulceration and neuropathy can also be spotted through pressure mapping.

The research team state that the device is significantly more accurate than the subjective tests used by GPs. The machine could be used in a number of key locations including GPs surgeries as well as in pharmacies and care homes.

Diabetes foot care costs the NHS around £650 million each year, with treatment for foot ulcers and amputation estimated at around £200 million a year. If the device can be shown to reduce amputation rates and save money, the machine could become a common feature of diabetes care.
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