eNose Successfully Recognizes Bacteria in Common Soft Tissue Infections

January 25, 2018
Michaela Fleming

The eNose was also able to recognize methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).

Researchers from the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, and Fimlab in Finland have successfully used an electronic nose (eNose) to detect bacteria in soft tissue infections. The eNose was also able to recognize methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).

The success of the eNose is pivotal in the medical treatment of skin and soft tissue infections. In previous cases, diagnoses were made based solely on clinical presentation, which resulted in unspecific diagnoses leading to an increase in treatment time, side effects, and higher costs, as indicated in a press release on the research.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if left untreated, MRSA can cause sepsis, other bloodstream infections, and pneumonia. Studies on MRSA have shown that half a million individuals are hospitalized each year from the infection and 10% will encounter a recurrence within a month of the initial infection. Additionally, patients who suffer from lymphedema are highly likely to face recurrences which can increase the length of the infection. All of which, emphasizes the importance of an early and accurate diagnosis.

Taavi Saviauk, PhD, doctoral researcher from the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Tampere is quoted in the release as saying, “Our aim was to create a method for the rapid diagnosis of soft tissue infections. If we had such a method, treatment could be started in a timely manner and targeted to the relevant pathogen directly. This would reduce the need for empirical treatments and shorten diagnostic delays.”

The eNose works by creating profiles for molecular compounds in the air, which are in turn analyzed and categorized by a computer that helps the eNose to recognize different compounds. The product can be used by a variety of professionals, as it does not require a lab, or special training to operate.

The eNose has also found success in recognizing the differences between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia by recognizing bacteria in urine samples.

The full study, “Electronic Nose in the Detection of Wound Infection Bacteria from Bacterial Cultures: A Proof-of-Principle Study,” is published in European Surgical Research.