Patient Version

What’s it all about?

When a human body is exposed to an explosive blast, damage can be done to organs such as the brain, lungs, liver and kidneys. This damage to internal organs can be just as deadly as more visible injuries to the skin and bones. Blasts are known to damage something called the endothelium, a thin layer of cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels. When endothelial cells are damaged, microparticles can be released into the body. This research is looking at how clinicians can test for these microparticles in a patient’s blood to work out what damage has been done by a blast.

Can I get involved?

QEHB Charity raises funds for research at the hospital and will ensure your donation goes to the project you want to support. To donate to this important research into life-threatening injuries, please visit the website.

How will this research help people?

Military personnel are sometimes exposed to explosive blasts, and a number of British servicemen and women have been killed or wounded by explosions in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last decade. It is very rare for civilians to be exposed to such blasts, but they can occur in industrial accidents and in terrorist attacks such as those which struck London in 2005. This research aims to create useful ways of using endothelial microparticles to diagnose internal injury and so treat blast victims more effectively.

How does the research work?

The research will look at how a technique called haemorrheology can be used to diagnose blast injury to organs. Haemorrheology is the study of the way parts of blood interact and the way this affects the blood vessels themselves.