(Photo source - Tudor Besleaga) The press are always quick to jump on stories about unsavoury Romanian ex-pats running amok and ripping off the UK's benefits system, but there are thousands of Romanians living abroad working hard, studying their pants off and making a success of their lives that we never hear about.
This post, therefore, is dedicated to one such success story with a future ahead of him that could potentially change the face of coronary patient care worldwide.
Tudor Besleaga is a UCL Mechanical Engineering graduate currently working on his PhD project in Medical Device Innovation at the UCL Institute of BioMedical Engineering in London and is one of two PhD students sponsored by Integrated Technologies (ITL). Together with his team of researchers, he is developing a wearable device that could potentially save the lives of thousands by detecting heart failure and alerting clinicians to patients at risk from imminent heart attacks. Sure, there is technology that gives an estimate today (smart watches, fitness devices etc), but that's all it is - an estimate. Tudor foresees turning that estimate into a diagnosis, leading to preventive medical action before the attack occurs. Watch the video HERE as he explains the project.
(Photo source: Highest cause of death per country, article Jan 2015)
Heart disease is singularly the UK's biggest killer, responsible for 82,000 deaths a year - that's an average of 224 people every day. The country spends 3.2 billion on healthcare costs for heart disease annually, so this device would not only save, literally, a great deal of heart ache, but also a heap load of money. Healthline lists the world's top 5 countries with the highest rates of heart disease-related deaths to be Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Argentina in that order. According to WHO data published in April 2011, heart disease was responsible for 56,727 deaths in Romania - 26.16% of the country's total mortality rate for that year. Such a preventive device would bring indescribable change to patients, doctors, international health systems and budgets all over the world. The potential is, frankly, mind-boggling.
The project team is led 'by consultant cardiologist Dr Pier Lambiase and cardiovascular research associate Michele Orini as well as two UCL professors specialising in biomedical electronics and optics', says ITL.
"It works as a pulse oximeter, with an LED lighting the skin, and a photodiode detecting how much light is absorbed by the blood in that region. The blood flow can be determined indirectly. The technology is cheap, but reliable," Tudor explained to EMDT
Currently perfecting the algorithms to be used for monitoring arrhythmia, his next stage is prototype development. By the time he completes his PhD project in 2018, he wants to have a usable product.
If that isn't something to be proud of, I don't know what is. Fingers crossed for a marketable product and eventual regulatory approval.
For more, please see THIS detailed article with more from Tudor in EMDT by Thomas Klein.