University Twente Logo Several patients endure chronic pain post operation and this apparently persists even after the wounds caused by the operations have mended. To solve this problem, researchers from the MIRA research institute, the University of Twente’s Research Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine have claimed that they have now created a mobile system namely NociTrack that could be utilized to gauge patients’ sensitivity to pain. Apparently, the readings illustrate which patients may probably go through post-operative pain.

Around 10 to 25 per cent of all patients who experience a slight operation like for a hernia or breast enlargement are apparently later affected by chronic pain. In the case of more grave operations, the percentage could be as high as 30 to 50 per cent. It is still not completely apparent as to what causes chronic pain, even though it is apparently acknowledged that hyperalgesia i.e. heightened sensitivity to pain could play a major function.

In cases where post-operative pain turns chronic, hyperalgesia apparently spreads gradually from the region of the operation to different portions of the body. If it is feasible to ascertain whether or not the augmented sensitivity to pain will spread, it could be decided more rapidly whether or not the pain may turn chronic.

Researchers from the MIRA research institute at the University of Twente have now formulated a portable system that may gauge sensitivity to pain plainly and neutrally. Due to their system, it may soon be likely to determine the spread of hyperalgesia and discern whether or not pain may become chronic.

The system designed by the Twente researchers, which they have named NociTrack, contains three parts. These are an appliance which is the size of a big mobile phone that gauges pain sensitivity, a PDA for gathering the data, and a central database that compares the records from individual patients with preceding measurements from the same and different patients.

Readings are taken by two electrodes placed onto the skin. When the patient presses a button on the device, it may begin to discharge weak electric pulses. These slowly grows stronger and stronger, and once the patient finds the pain too painful, he lets go of the button and the pulses stop. This is recorded as the patient’s pain limit and by matching it against former readings, it could be feasible to find out whether he has become more or less sensitive to pain, or whether there has been any alteration at all.

The experts are of the opinion that it may expose at an earlier stage than now whether the post-operative pain being experienced by any given patient may turn chronic. This means that any pertinent therapy could be started sooner. A different feature of the system is that it could evaluate neutrally how effectual pain medication is.

Application for the system’s patent has been given. After the patent is granted, the system may be developed further.