New medical eNose device able to sniff out bacteria known to cause soft tissue infections

A proof-of-concept portable device known as the electronic nose (eNose) was found to effectively detect detrimental bacteria that lead to soft tissue infections even without prior preparation of tissue samples. The research team from the University of Tampere, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere University of Technology and Fimlab in Finland also found that the device was able to distinguish bacterial infections from one another.

  • The researchers explained that soft tissue infections including postoperative wound infections remain a global health burden.
  • The experts also discussed that these infections were commonly diagnosed through various methods such bacterial stains, cultures and polymerase chain reaction assays.
  • However, the experts noted that the results often come out several hours after the tests, which then leads to the administration of antibiotic treatment without a specific diagnosis.
  • The scientists then used the electronic nose on clinical bacterial cultures to assess its efficacy in detecting and differentiating different species of bacteria.
  • The research team observed that the device was able to distinguish methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Streptococcus pyogenesEscherichia coli (E. coli)Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Clostridium perfringens with an accuracy of 78 percent within minutes without prior sample preparation.
  • The experts also touted that the device showed an 83 percent sensitivity, a 100 percent specificity and a 91 percent accuracy in differentiating MRSA from MSSA.

The researchers inferred that developing a device that speeds up the diagnosis of soft tissue infections might help stave off diagnosis delays and reduce the need for empirical treatments.

Journal reference:

Taavi Saviauk, Juha P. Kiiski, Maarit K. Nieminen, Nelly N. Tamminen, Antti N. Roine, Pekka S. Kumpulainen, Lauri J. Hokkinen, Markus T. Karjalainen, Risto E. Vuento, Janne J. Aittoniemi, Terho J. Lehtimäki, Niku K. Oksala. ELECTRONIC NOSE IN THE DETECTION OF WOUND INFECTION BACTERIA FROM BACTERIAL CULTURES: A PROOF-OF-PRINCIPLE STUDY. European Surgical Research, 2018; 59 DOI: 10.1159/000485461

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