The innovative technology of the Jena based manufacturer of medical devices Imedos Systems GmbH, allows detection of such vascular disorders, in particular the endothelial dysfunction. This opens up the possibility to identify patients with expected severe progressions of COVID-19 in good time.
As part of the study, the Zurich team of experts examined tissue samples of deceased COVID-19 patients. It was noticeable that not only the lungs of the patients were inflamed. Instead, the patients suffered from inflammation of the endothelium of the vessels of various organs. The endothelium is the innermost cell layer of the vessels, which forms a kind of protective shield of the organs and is responsible for regulating various processes. A damaged endothelium will result in circulatory and clotting disorders in the organs. These, in turn, can lead to cell death and thus to the death of entire organs or tissues. According to the Zurich scientists, the virus directly attacks the vascular endothelium, causing systemic vascular inflammation throughout the body. The consequences are then visible as organ damages and lung diseases.
"Whether a person’s endothelial function is already restricted can be determined quickly – in a contactless and reliable manner using our innovative method of Dynamic Vessel Analysis. A simple look into the patient’s eye provides detailed insights into the function and regulation of the retinal vessels and their endothelium. Imedos stands for micro vascular health. We are committed to contributing to the protection of corona patients with our technology and expertise," explains Dr. Walthard Vilser, Managing Director of Imedos Systems GmbH.
Using the method of dynamic vessel analysis, the vessels of the retina are stimulated with flicker light and the vascular reaction is analyzed. Since the vascular endothelium is similarly damaged in all vessels of the microcirculation of various organs, the eye can be used as a window to detect damages of the entire vascular system. In this way, the examining physician receives information about the cardiovascular or cardiometabolic risk for future diseases of the most diverse organs of the body. The risk also takes into account impairments of the vascular system due to pre-existing conditions as well as known internal and vascular risk factors.
Persons with pre-damaged vessels and existing dysregulations of the vessels are among the high-risk patients for particularly severe course of infection with the virus. They must be identified in good time and protected from contagion with COVID-19. Prof. Dr. med. Frank Ruschitzka, Director of the Department of Cardiology at the University Hospital Zurich, has already reported that further examinations using the methods of retinal vessel analysis on COVID-19 patients are planned. He also stressed the need for a second therapeutic approach for COVID-19 patients. In addition to the containment of viruses, the vascular system of the patients should be protected and stabilized.
List of references:
USZ, 20th April 2020: COVID-19: also a systemic endotheliitis. http://www.usz.ch/news/medienmitteilungen/Seiten/mm-covid-19-gefaesserkrankung.aspx for the English version of the press release and article, please scroll down to the bottom of the page http://www.usz.ch/Documents/200420_COVID19_final_en.pdf
Reye, Barbara: «Mit dem Rauchen aufhören und sich am besten viel bewegen» (Quit smoking and move a lot); in: Tages-Anzeiger; 5 th May 2020, p. 32
Imedos specializes in retinal microcirculation and develops medical device systems for microvascular research and functional diagnostics. Through decades of research and development, the company has established itself as a highly innovative manufacturer of analytical systems and software. These are used not only by ophthalmologists but also by specialists from other medical disciplines worldwide.
The retina of the eyes acts as a unique mirror of the entire human body. Thus, the retinal microcirculation that takes place here can be used to draw conclusions about the individual vascular condition, vascular functions and vascular risk factors. Early detection of these vascular risks facilitates the prevention of cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases in a targeted manner. This opens up a wide range of applications, far beyond ophthalmology.
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