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OHRI / uOttawa research shows heart rate monitors could help detect sepsis earlier

August 19, 2009

A new research study led by Dr. Andrew Seely and Dr. Saif Ahmad shows that a simple heart rate monitor may be able to detect the first signs of sepsis, a potentially lethal blood infection, almost a day and a half before traditional methods. The researchers developed a mathematical algorithm to analyze variation in heart rate and detect patterns associated with sepsis. They tested the new approach in 17 patients who had had bone marrow stem cell transplants and were thus at high risk of developing sepsis. On average, they were able to detect sepsis 35 hours earlier than they normally would have been able to by monitoring body temperature. The results are published in PLoS One and the story was featured on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen.