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Title: Assessing the utility and acceptability of hydrogel-forming microneedles for minimally-invasive paediatric monitoring
Author: Mooney, Karen
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Blood sampling is routinely employed for analyte monitoring in the healthcare setting, despite its renowned unpopularity and difficulties, particularly in neonates and children. Microneedle (MN) technology may offer an alternative approach, with reduced pain and trauma. MN arrays consist of a baseplate of up to 2000 MN projections per cm2, with heights ranging between 25 - 2500 μm. Hydrogel MN swelling upon human skin penetration has been previously noted and this interstitial fluid uptake could be exploited for monitoring purposes. However, it is unknown if MN-mediated monitoring is acceptable and disfavour among potential end-users would make any further development futile. In the present work, opinions regarding MN-mediated monitoring were gathered by conducting focus groups with children, semi-structured interviews with parents of premature neonates and using a survey involving UI<. paediatricians. Hydrogel MNs were developed and fluid uptake evaluated in vitro and in vivo in human subjects. The children, parents and paediatricians participating believed an alternative monitoring technique to blood sampling in children was required. Furthermore, 83% of paediatricians, including neonatologists, believed there was a particular need in premature neonates. All three potential end-user groups approved of MN-mediated monitoring. Minimal pain, an acceptable appearance and the perceived ease of use were important elements in gaining favour. Concerns included the need for confirmation of correct application and skin irritation. Both in vitro and in vivo fluid uptake was demonstrated with MNs composed of 15% w/w poly(methyl vinyl ether co maleic acid) and 7.5% w/w poly(ethylene glycol) 10,000 Daltons. Optical coherence tomography confirmed these MNs to remain intact and also enabled post-removal micropore visualisation in human skin. The findings of this thesis indicate the need for an alternative analyte monitoring technique to conventional blood sampling, highlight MNs as acceptable among key end-user groups and provide an initial demonstration of hydrogel MN fluid uptake. This work strengthens the rationale behind MN-mediated monitoring and lays the first foundations for further work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available