25th February 2011

BioWales 2011: Abllity to produce a diagnosis in minutes

Press Office, Welsh Assembly Government

Welsh Assembly Government


A fast, easy to use medical device – designed and developed in Wales – that can detect the early on-set of lower limb arterial disease is to be launched to a UK wide audience at BioWales next week.


The Dopplex ABIlity is the result of a successful collaboration between Cardiff based Huntleigh’s Diagnostic Products Division and the Cardiff NHS Podiatry Department.


It is one of a number of made-in-Wales devices and products to be launched at the BioWales 2011 conference and exhibition next week (March 1 & 2) – a two day event organised by the Welsh Assembly Government.


The new device can accurately measure the ankle brachial index (ABI) in just three minutes. ABI is regarded as the most effective, accurate and practical method of detecting peripheral arterial disease in a broad range of patients.


Dr Jon Evans, the co-inventor from the Huntleigh team, explained that traditional technology for measuring ABI is difficult to use, time consuming and often unreliable. Users needed continual training and the test, which can take half an hour, is not alwaysa good patient experience.


The Dopplex ABIlity is highly portable and its ease of use means it is ideally suited for use in primary care clinics and GP surgeries to enable early detection of arterial disease.


Recent studies show that 20% of people over 65 years of age have peripheral arterial disease but do not have any symptoms. Those with the disease are twice as likely to suffer from a cardiac problem, such a heart attack or stroke.


 “Early diagnosis means treatment can be started earlier which can help extend life expectancy by more than ten years. Our system is also effective in checking whether patients presenting with leg pains are suffering from arterial problems,” he said.


Currently about 30% of patients that are referred for secondary care assessments prove to be negative. This is obviously costly and time consuming, and our system can prevent this by screening patients before they are referred.”


The device was developed in close collaboration with Cardiff NHS Podiatry Department where Specialist Research Podiatrist, Dr Jane Lewis led the clinical side of the project.


Following the construction of a clinical prototype, Huntleigh approached Cardiff Podiatry Department initially for some clinical feedback. After a successful and rapid ethics approval, Cardiff became the first clinical site to compare the efficacy and reproducibility of the new system against the traditional method.


Consultations regarding clinical need, patient need and equipment design were ongoing throughout the development and clinical validation of the device.


Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, who is speaking at BioWales, said the ABIlity system was one of several highly innovative products from Wales to be launched and featured at the conference.


“Life sciences are identified in our Economic Renewal strategy as a key sector with high growth potential. We have specific strengths in Wales including medical devices so it is good to see a range of highly innovative made-in-Wales products launched at BioWales.


“The devices have the potential to make a real impact on the health and well being of people and create economic benefits and I am delighted to note that several have been developed through close collaboration with the NHS and our universities.”


Dr Evans said the initial collaboration between the two parties, which, began through a mutual interest, has developed and proven to be invaluable.


Dopplex ABIlity will be manufactured at the company’s Cardiff site and initially marketed in the UK and Europe, before rolling out globally. It will be available for sale from May this year.