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A Rapid Urine Test Would Now Reveal Kidney Stones

Medical diagnostic experts have come forward with a brand new rapid urine test that would bring a new light of hope for people suffering from kidney stones and related infections.

The research teams from the Penn State and Stanford University developed this test which would give results in less than 30 minutes. This is surprisingly fast as the standard testing protocol takes nearly one week to give the same results.

This study is published in Science Advances and is available online to read.

Kidney stones are extremely common and are usually built of minerals and salts that are combined together as a hard mass. The kidney stones are uncomfortable, painful, and require medical attention as soon as possible. If unattended, these stones are much likely to affect the excretory system where they can cause blood to show up in urine. It also causes extreme pain and in severe cases, it could lead to kidney blockage and failure of the urinary system.

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This new rapid kidney stone test would identify the presence of metabolites inside the urine to confirm kidney stones. Normally, these metabolites include minerals and some other solutes which normally indicate a risk of kidney stones in the coming time.

To complete this test, usually, the patient is asked to give his urine sample over a 1 day period. This sample is collected in a large size container and it is later on sent to the laboratory for completing the test. The reports of this standard test are expected within a week or 10 days maximum.

While it might not long like a very extended period of time, this 7-10 days gap is indeed a long duration. Many patients who are at high risk of kidney stones might not be able to protect themselves from the pain and discomfort during all these days. Some of them might fall for severe complications as well.

That is why medical experts have come up with this new rapid urine test which could provide the same results within 24 hours only. Pak Kin Wong, the lead investigator, and first study author say that it was necessary to develop something like this to ease the patients and initiate the medical response within time.

The reason why the standard method takes more time and effort to show the same results has a number of factors involved. But having a new rapid urine test would reduce the problems related to the testing delays.

This new test requires specialized equipment to identify the metabolites in the urine sample. Using the biomimetic detection system for these metabolites called slippery liquid-infused porous surface (SLIPS)-LAB would detect them within no time.

The slippery liquid-infused porous surface or SLIPS is modern, low friction and smooth surface-based system which locks the lubricants into the substrate. This idea was taken from the carnivores plant called ‘pitcher plant’ which has a pitcher like shape and its leaves are sticky and slippery which helps them to prey the insects.

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Wong shares that nature is indeed the best teacher and this research completely justifies the statement. This new and rapid urine test is really simple and it doesn’t even need a technician to run it. giving it a more user-friendly form would enable doctors and medical practitioners to run it by themselves in their clinics or even at a patient’s house during a home call.

This is a low cost set up which would surely bring new opportunities after the demand for simple diagnostic tools increase. It would not only help in the rapid detection of kidney stones but also saves people from the health complications when they or their doctors are unsure about their kidney stones.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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