An inflating cuff, much like those used for taking blood pressure, is to be used to help with the diagnosis of prostate and male bladder problems.
The innovative device has been developed by an Action Medical Research team at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is being marketed across the UK, Europe and Canada.
Many men suffer from bladder and urinary symptoms as they grow older, and thousands seek help from their doctor every year in the UK. These problems may be a result of an enlarged prostate gland, a weakened or even over-active bladder muscle.
The symptoms are troublesome, and can include difficulty in emptying the bladder or frequent urination, and the diagnosis is not always straightforward.
The ‘gold standard’ test for investigating such urinary problems is to measure bladder pressure and, until now, the only means to achieve this was to pass a tube down the penis.
Mr Robert Pickard, who headed up the team said, “This is an uncomfortable and sometimes distressing investigation that can lead to infection.
“However, our new device means that, for some men, this invasive procedure will now be unnecessary.
“It will work in a similar way to a blood pressure cuff, but by being placed around the penis and inflating and deflating whilst the patient urinates.
“This will allow the pressure in the bladder to be measured and, in conjunction with urine flow results, will allow clinicians a clearer picture of what the problem is and help predict which men are likely to benefit from surgery.”
Andrew Proctor of Action Medical Research congratulated the team, “Mr Pickard and his talented team have developed an innovative, non-invasive diagnostic tool for a problem that affects many men.
“Hopefully it will encourage more patients to seek medical advice at an earlier stage, rather than leaving it potentially too late through fear of the diagnostic technique itself.
“The team are to be congratulated for their achievements.”
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