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Heart Patients May Benefit From Aviation Industry Technology Applied to Healthcare

Heart patients may benefit from aviation industry technology applied to healthcare

The Organisation

A major acute teaching hospital trust, the University Hospital of South Manchester provides services for adults and children at two sites, Wythenshaw Hospital and Withington Community Hospital, as well as a number of community services previously operated by Manchester Primary Care Trust.

The trust helps patients across the Northwest of England and beyond, and is recognised as a centre of clinical excellence. Their specialist expertise includes cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, heart and lung transplantation, respiratory conditions, burns and plastics, and cancer and breast care services.

The Challenge

A team from the Academic Surgery Unit at the University Hospital of South Manchester, led by Professor Charles McCollum, has been collaborating with Lancaster's Science and Technology researchers to develop new technology for healthcare based on an aviation security system designed to give pilots maximum information about the health of their aircraft and advance warning of problems.

Professor Garik Markarian explained, "There are a lot of parallels between flying an aircraft and observing a critically ill patient.

"Both the surgeon and the pilot are dealing with a lot of information coming from a variety of sensors. They both need to know not only what is happening now but what might happen in the future and safety is absolutely critical.

"When a patient is critically ill or recovering from surgery, doctors monitor the patient's blood pressure, temperature, pulse and other vital signs very closely but have to rely on their experience to predict what is likely to happen next. Pilots have the additional benefit of tools to help them do that."

The Solution

The School of Computing & Communications's aviation security expert Professor Garik Markarian drew upon his years of experience to develop a real-time patient monitoring and risk prediction system, similar to those used by pilots to monitor the safety of their aircraft.


This new tool has given doctors an extra layer of intelligence to draw upon. It has been designed to make sense of a diverse range of patient data to provide health care professionals with a clearer indication of what might happen to their patients in the near future, buying them precious time to take preventative action.

Doctors can then potentially access this information at any time, even from home on their laptop or phone.