UKZN’s Biomedical Resources Unit (BRU), which falls under the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences (SLMMS), again held one of its stimulating workshops, this time partnering with Lasec in collaboration with data acquisition and analysis systems producer, ADInstruments, to expose postgraduate students to an invasive blood pressure measurement technique that will assist them in achieving more accurate results in their various research projects and prospective studies.
For decades, blood pressure has been measured using monitors that are strapped around the upper arm. Using a rat model, attendees at the workshop were familiarised with an affordable Millar Mikro-tip catheter, which is the gold standard for arterial and ventricular pressure recordings, as well as analysis using ADInstruments’ LabChart.
‘The idea of using an invasive approach to collect blood pressure traces will allow researchers to collect their traces at the source, inside the vein or artery, with a level of accuracy and resolution that cannot be achieved with other techniques such as the fluid for approach,’ said workshop facilitator and Distributor Manager for Europe and Africa at ADInstruments, Dr Federico Cardona Rocha.
Co-facilitating the workshop was the Head of Support at ADInstruments, Mr Mark DeReus, who said the workshop exposed postgraduates to recording the purest form of blood pressure. ‘We aimed to stimulate ideas by exposing the junior researchers to potential projects of the future.’
The students, mainly conducting research projects in anatomical pathology and human physiology, were excited to learn how the invasive technique goes into the carotid artery through a tiny catheter to record blood pressure.
SLMMS Senior Technician, Mr Denvon Bailey, who has recently completed his master’s, said he found the workshop enlightening, especially because anatomy plays a key role in advising surgeons on how to perform their procedures.
Second-year Human Physiology PhD student, Ms Nompumelelo Gumede, is conducting research that is focusing on cardiovascular response on animals during pre-diabetes – the intermediate stage between normoglycaemia (when there is normal concentration of sugar in the blood) and type 2 diabetes (the long-term medical condition in which your body does not use insulin properly, resulting in unusual blood sugar levels). Gumede said the workshop was important as it shed new light on better techniques to help studies such as hers to achieve more accurate results.
BRU manager and veterinarian, Dr Nqobile Jaca, said the workshop paved the way for future innovative research. ‘Bringing in specialists allows students to broaden their knowledge and research topics.’ Jaca said rodent research models were used to teach students various techniques because they share a number of physiological functions with human, and since the BRU is one of the largest laboratory animal facilities in southern Africa, its main function is to allow for groundbreaking and stimulating, world class research.
The workshop introduced the students to LabChart and Data Analysis and highlighted the advantages of Mikro-Tip catheterisation over traditional fluid-filled catheterisation. The facilitators demonstrated live catheterisation on a rat and ventricular pressure data acquisition.
Words and photograph: Lunga Memela