A Scots firm has developed a potentially lifesaving technology which allows doctors to quickly detect when a patient is bleeding internally.

The handheld technology, called CoaguScan, is still in its early prototype stage and has yet to be tested directly on patients.

But the device, developed by the Highland Biosciences firm in Ross-shire, could soon be trialled by specialist trauma surgeons at London's St Mary's Hospital.

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The technology will help determine whether a patient is suffering from internal bleeding and if they require a blood transfusion by analysing their blood for signs of coagulopathy.

Coagulopathy develops after a patient's body loses the ability to clot, meaning they could be at risk of massive blood loss.

Patients suffering from the condition require a blood transfusion, but this only happens in less than a third of trauma cases.

It currently takes up to an hour to determine if patients need blood transfusions and this means that transfusions are administered to all trauma patients as a precaution.

As a result, vital blood supplies will be given to many patients who do not need them, and can also be detrimental to them if their body reacts badly.

The new CoaguScan device will also help doctors determine the exact amount of blood products a patient requires from a transfusion.

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Dr Richard Day, managing director of Highland Biosciences, said: "The results of the trial so far are really promising and we are thrilled to be partnering with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust on this world first pilot.

"By partnering with the trust, we have been able to perform a practical demonstration of the technology we have developed.

"This has shown the potential for it to be deployed wherever and whenever the transfusion of blood products is used as a treatment to stop uncontrolled bleeding.

"Given St Mary's reputation as one of the busiest trauma centres in the UK with very good outcomes for patients, it was the ideal location for us to test CoaguScan in the first proof of concept phase.

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"We are now hoping to secure funding to roll out the next stage of the project which will see CoaguScan being tested in major trauma centres across the UK."