The last twenty years have seen the increasing demand by physicians of devices able to carry out fast and reliable measurements of chemical and biochemical parameters beside the patient’s bed so as to allow the formulation of a rapid and reliable diagnosis and/or the choice of the most appropriate therapy, avoiding the need for analysis of centralized laboratories. These are the so-called Point of Care Testing (POCT) devices that are becoming essential for the analysis of many diseases, where a quick medical attention is crucial for the patient's life.
Optical biosensors and chemosensors can definitely play a fundamental role in this area and the use of optical fibers as optical links can also lead to invasive continuous measurements within the human body. The determination of one single parameter is sometimes sufficient, but it is important to emphasize that it is often necessary to monitor a panel of biomarkers associated to the onset and/or to the development of a definite pathology and, in this context, the optical biochip can play an essential role in the development of POCT equipment. The activity developed at the Institute of Applied Physics in this field in strict collaboration with physicians is described with particular attention to the measurement of bile-containing refluxes in the gastroesophageal apparatus in non- hospitalized patients, to the detection of gastric carbon dioxide in intensive care patients, to the simultaneous measurement of sepsis biomarkers in serum samples and to the measurements of immuno-suppressants in transplanted patients.
Francesco Baldini, Barbara Adinolfi, Simone Berneschi, Chiara Berrettoni, Francesco Chiavaioli, Ambra Giannetti, Sara Tombelli, and Cosimo Trono, "The light at the service of medicine: optical sensing beside the patient's bed (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10072, Optical Diagnostics and Sensing XVII: Toward Point-of-Care Diagnostics, 100720B (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254272.5380600070001.
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