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Mobile app significantly speeds up detection of potentially fatal kidney condition

06/08/2019

Mobile app significantly speeds up detection of potentially fatal kidney condition

A new mobile phone app that helps speed up the detection of a potentially fatal kidney condition has been described as a “potential lifesaver” by hospital staff.


The app, known as Streams, is able to detect acute kidney injury in 14 minutes (on average). Until now, this process would have taken at least several hours. This is highly significant as acute kidney injury can begin to affect other organs if it is not treated quickly.


One in five people who are admitted to hospital develop acute kidney injury and it leads to around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year.


The app works by looking for a waste product called creatinine, something that is normally filtered out by a person’s kidneys. It then sends warning signals to front-line clinicians’ phones if a patient’s blood tests indicate they have acute kidney failure.


Streams was developed by the Royal Free Hospital in London and technology firm DeepMind, which is owned by Alphabet.


Speaking to the BBC, Mary Emerson, lead nurse specialist at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “It's a huge change to be able to receive alerts about patients anywhere in the hospital. Healthcare is mobile and real time, and this is the first device that has enabled me to see results in a mobile real-time way.”


The findings of the app trial are published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.

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