Isomark test detects infections two days before formal diagnosis

A device from a Madison-based startup has been shown to detect infections two days before they could be diagnosed in a clinical setting.

That’s from a recent study published in the scientific journal of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. It focuses on the Canary, which was developed by Isomark to find certain biomarkers for infection by capturing exhaled breaths.

The study shows scientists accurately predicted which study participants would develop infections based on something called the breath delta value, or BDV. This represents the ratio of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath.

As infection sets in, changes in patients’ BDV occur before other physical symptoms of infection. Those changes can be tracked and used to identify infections earlier. In the study, scientists found the presence of infection up to 48 hours before it could be confirmed by other means.

“Many researchers and clinicians believe the ability to deliver early treatment will significantly change the current clinical dynamic of reacting defensively to infections,” said Joe Kremer, CEO for Isomark. “An early warning of a developing infection will enable a more proactive approach with the initiation of treatment very early in the infection’s development stage.”

It’s noted in the study that earlier diagnosis and treatment would improve outcomes by shortening hospital stays and lowering the overall cost of care.

Isomark’s device works by having the subject breathe into a sample bag or other collection device. It can also hook up to an existing ventilator system, for patients who can’t breath on their own. According to a release from the Wisconsin Technology Council, both of these collection methods will be tested for safety and efficacy in future studies.

The Isomark study was conducted at four clinical sites, including UW-Madison, where the technology underpinning the company was first developed. Participants were “critically ill” adults who had just experienced trauma or acute care surgery, and expected to stay in the hospital for longer than five days.

Their BDV was measured every four hours for seven days straight, and correlated to multiple factors including clinical infection diagnosis. That final diagnosis was made by an independent committee.

In patients who developed infections, the BDV increased “significantly” over several days, while it remained at baseline for those who weren’t infected.

It’s noted in the Tech Council release that infections are the leading cause of illness and death for patients in intensive care units. Current practices of detecting infection are accurate, but the time required can mean longer hospital stays and a bigger bill for the patient.

Isomark will be represented at the upcoming Wisconsin Tech Summit, to be held Monday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

See the study here:

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–By Alex Moe