Diagnostic device can save time, money and lives

by Susan Belknapp

According to the American Heart Association, about 8 million Americans have peripheral artery disease (PAD) and, very frequently, patients mistake their symptoms for something else. To exacerbate matters, the American Heart Association reports that PAD often goes undiagnosed by health-care professionals, as well.

Detailed scans, clear diagnoses

St. Paul, Minn.­­–based Biomed has made tremendous strides to alleviate the number of under- and misdiagnosed patients with the development of PADnet+, a noninvasive diagnostic device. Coupled with recently upgraded Web-based technology, PADnet+ allows general practitioners, podiatrists, clinicians, technicians and specialists to view and assess detailed test results from a secure Internet site.

“We have a multi-tiered model that incorporates all manner of practitioners,” said John Romans, chief executive officer of BioMedix. “With the new Web capabilities, we are providing a community-based network of specialists, referring physicians and technicians, which makes this product highly beneficial in any clinical setting.”
PADnet+ eliminates the use of Doppler ultrasound to obtain the ankle brachial index (ABI) and toe brachial index (TBI), two popularly used and extremely effective modes of detecting PAD. PADnet+ goes further with the use of pulse volume-recording (PVR) or plethysmograph technology, which produces waveforms to analyze the detailed functionality of the limb. The test takes only 25 minutes.

By combining ABI index and PVR waveforms, physicians can quickly assess blood-flow dynamics and test for PAD, post-exercise PAD and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Optical probe technology measures venous refill time, which indicates the absence or presence of CVI.

Virtual triage

“With the previous screening and testing clinical models, millions of people with PAD have gone undiagnosed,” Romans said. “The number of people with PAD will increase as the population ages and the rates of diabetes and obesity also increase, so we can’t afford to miss it.”

PADnet+ alleviates much of the lag time and miscommunication that can occur between first examination, referral and a specialist’s assessment. “With PADnet+, the initial exam is done by a GP, podiatrist or other clinician,” Romans said. “The results are immediately uploaded to a secure site, where a vascular specialist can view the results from any location. He can then make a confident diagnosis and give an immediate course of action.”

This also helps specialists and hospitals prioritize cases and archive the patients’ exact condition so future changes can be tracked and compared easily.

Taking the doctor’s advice

Because the technology is Web-based, upgrades are immediately available to users. As an interactive site, BioMedix encourages all user feedback. “At BioMedix, we are very receptive to insight from our users,” Romans said. “In our most recent edition, we incorporated many requests that were received via instant feedback. For instance, the system now allows for photo uploads from clinicians, which is a direct result of specialists’ requests.”