CRITICALLY ill patients in Southampton will be the first in the world to benefit from a revolutionary device that could save their lives.

Doctors in the city have been pioneering the high-tech gadget and will be the first to fit it to patients.

The revolutionary bug-like device detects dangerous blood sugar levels. If they drop by a certain amount life-threatening complications, including infections, seizures and comas can occur.

The gadget, which consists of two probes with four sensors that are hooked into the skin and then covered with a dressing, means patients have round-the-clock protection.

The hospital helped develop the product by carrying out the first study into the device in a cardiac intensive care unit. Its work will help to lead a wider rollout of the device nationally and internationally.

Daily Echo:

“This device is a cutting-edge advance for critically ill patients as, for the first time, we are able to constantly monitor the blood glucose levels in critically ill patients,” said Dr Paul Diprose (above), a consultant cardiac anaesthetist at Southampton General Hospital, who led the study. “Until this development we were reliant on information taken and assessed every two to four hours.

“Many of our patients have rapidly changing blood glucose levels and this device can allow much more frequent feedback of levels and allow us to intervene early to attempt to avoid complications.”

Gary Taylor had a complication which led to a reaction to an anaesthetic while waiting for a triple bypass operation. As a result he was given the bug while doctors monitored him in preparation for his operation.

The 60-year-old retired works controller said: “I was hoping not to need the device but because of the complication I had to, it’s making a big difference.

“Once I have the bypass I’ll have a better quality of life and hopefully another 10 or 15 years.”

Dr Mike Herbertson, director of cardiac intensive care at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This device provides a continuous measure rather than intermittent ‘snapshots’ of glucose levels. “It provides the opportunity to control patients’ blood sugar levels much more effectively than was safe to do in the past and that is an important development.”