Mark Ansermino of The University of British Columbia in Canada will adapt near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for the simple diagnosis and monitoring of children at increased risk of mortality from pneumonia. Children with moderate to severe malnutrition who develop pneumonia are far more likely to die than more nourished children, but diagnosing pneumonia in these individuals is problematic, likely due in part to muscle wasting that masks the classic symptoms of fast breathing and chest indrawing. NIRS is non-invasive and portable, and can rapidly measure tissue oxygenation levels, which will be reduced by oxidative stress in children with malnutrition. They will collect arm muscle saturation data using NIRS on 200 children under five years old admitted for lung infections at a clinic in Uganda, and use the data to design a prototype device and protocols for identifying at risk children.
More information about New Ways to Reduce Childhood Pneumonia Deaths Through Delivery of Timely Effective Treatment (Round 15)