Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

Leicester Diagnostics Development Unit (DDU)

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Integrated non-invasive diagnosis

This project is a collaboration between Medicine, Space Science, Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Leicester and a number of Industry partners. We focus on diagnosis in emergency care - an area of medicine where there is often not time to use conventional diagnostic methods and clinical decisions about treatment have to be made without the doctor having the full information about the patient's condition.

Our aim

The non-invasive detection of disease.  Correlation of measurements with traditional diagnosis, leading to derivation of disease symptoms and leading to  bespoke 'Point of Care' devices.


Because invasive measurement/monitoring can be unpleasant, can lead to complications, infection and  possible exposure to radiation.  False positives and negatives can be produced and is conventional diagnostics can be time consuming with some results not being available for several days.

Our concept

Will utilise the smell of disease (volatile organic compounds), the look of disease (space age imaging) and feeling the “pulse” (novel cardiovascular devices) using state of the art instrumentation installed in a resuscitation bay in the Emergency Department.

We provide a facility in which novel diagnostic and monitoring devices can be developed and tested. A large volume of patients with diverse medical conditions are available, as well as a large volume of ‘normals’. The facility is available for clinical testing for Industry.


Located in the Accident and Emergency Department at Leicester Royal Infirmary the DDU provides an immediate adjacency between the instrument room (left of picture) and a resuscitation bay (right of picture).

A series of ports through the wall allow cables and tubes to pass from the instruments to the patient, but with maintenance of separation between the clinical and equipment areas. Data cabling links USB and data points each side of the wall.

Research studies can be carried out without interfering with normal clinical care, as the patient remains in a resuscitation area during monitoring. This also means that all severities of patient (from minor injuries to major illness) can be studied. Last year there were more than 150 000 patients treated in the Emergency Department - so almost all types of illness and injury can be studied.

Interdisciplinary research

It is a University inter-college project between Cardiovascular Sciences, Emergency Medicine, Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Space Research Centre, and IT services.

This concept has been supported by the award of support from NIHR Clinical Research Facility funding (in 2017).



  • IR Imager: temperature distribution
  • UV-VIS-NIR Spectrometers
  • Hyper spectral imager (2nm resolution): spectral features, patient pallor
  • Context Colour Imager

Breath and Other Gas Phase Analysis

  • Mass Spectrometer and Spirometer:  composition and volume
  • Nitric Oxide Analyser
  • Micro-cantilever polymer based detector (gas and fluid)
  • Body State via
  • Thoracic Impedance Monitor
  • Blood Flow Monitor
  • Oxygenation Monitor
  • ECG

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