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D-LIVER: EU project designs home care system for liver patients

A European ICT for Health project aims to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic liver disease, by developing a remote support system to monitor their condition at home.

Some 29 million Europeans suffer from chronic liver disease. It is one of the most common causes of death in the EU and doctors believe that tens of thousands of early deaths could be avoided with the right healthcare once the condition is diagnosed.

The D-LIVER project aims to help patients with advanced liver disease, many on long waiting lists for transplants, by saving them painstaking regular trips to hospital for tests and appointments with consultants. It is developing an ICT-enabled remote support system for the patients to use in their homes. The D-LIVER system will allow them to test for a variety of biochemical and physical parameters fundamental to understanding their well-being and needs in real time.

‘As my liver condition deteriorated, my ability to walk around diminished dramatically,’ revealed Martin Owen, a commercial airline pilot who managed to return to work after a transplant. ‘I used to spend my life asleep in a chair at home because I had absolutely no energy at all. I had to rely on my wife to take time off her employment to take me into hospital,’ he said in a film about the D-LIVER project.

As D-LIVER coordinator Prof Calum McNeil, of Newcastle University, explained: ‘The platform is generic. Once we get over the technological hurdles, it could be applied to all sorts of other disease conditions: e.g. management of cardiovascular, renal, neurological and inflammatory diseases.’

Colleagues of Prof McNeil at Newcastle University, studying the economics of such a system, estimate it will save thousands of euros a year in hospital admission costs per patient, particularly those with hepatic encephalopathy.

Now the technology developed during the first two years of the project is to be tested on patients. Between now and the end of D-LIVER in September 2015, participants are preparing for a multi-center clinical trial of the system they plan to conduct in 2016, involving up to 150 patients in Newcastle, Berlin and Milan.

Read the full article online: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/d-liver-eu-project-designs-h...