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New method for saving lives secures major grant for researcher

A researcher from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital will spend the next two years testing a new method which ensures that patients with blood poisoning receive the right amount of fluid when they are admitted to hospital. The method will be able to save lives and is also the background for a grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

2015.03.05 | Helle Horskjær Hansen

[Translate to English:] Adjunkt, Ph.D Simon Tilma Vistisen has received a grant of 1.8 million from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

Blood poisoning is a very serious condition, leading to at least 2,000 fatalities among Danes every year. Now the hope is that a new method can reduce the number of deaths.

Treatment of blood poisoning requires giving the patient fluids, but the amount of fluids depends on a doctor's estimate.

"The problem is that we do not have a tenable method to assess whether a patient has received enough or maybe even too much fluid," explains Simon Tilma Vistisen from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, who has just received a two-year grant of DKK 1.8 million from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

Predicts the need for fluids

He is the inventor and researcher behind the new, patented method of monitoring, which is able to combine existing measurements and, based on these, predict whether or not a patient requires fluids. The hope is that it will be possible to use the new method in hospitals in order to tell the doctors whether they should increase or stop the intravenous fluids. This will avoid dangerous water retention in the lungs or other vital organs of ill patients.

"The ambition is for this new monitoring method to be used already in the emergency department and wards. In this way, the doctors who typically see patients in their crucial early phase of the illness will be able to keep an eye on whether sick patients receive the correct amount of fluid. Unlike today, where they have to use their best judgement," says Simon Vistisen.

Together with researchers from Aarhus University and Harvard University, he will spend the next two years testing the method.

"Today, the level of fluid intake is very much based on estimations. It is a clinical estimate in which the doctor does not get much help from the measurements that exist today. The doctor assesses whether a patient will benefit from receiving fluid, but it is not until afterwards that the doctor knows whether the fluid helped to e.g. increase blood pressure. By using the new method you will know even before you give the fluids whether it will be of benefit, or whether it will actually only increase the risk of other complications," says Simon Vistisen. 

Further information

Assistant Professor, PhD Simon Tilma Vistisen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Research Centre for Emergency Medicine.
Direct tel.: +45 2067 6868

Description of the grant (in Danish):


Or: tinyurl.com/ocqlyq8

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