A Glasgow-based product design and development consultancy, Wideblue, has developed a potentially groundbreaking new medical device which monitors respiratory health.
The device, known as N-Tidal, is a small, battery-powered personal capnometer, which is used to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath. Changes in CO2 concentration as a patient breathes in and out through the device can be used to assess the health of someone’s lungs.
Wideblue developed the device on for Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited (CRiL), a digital health company which specialises in cardio-respiratory health.
Normally, capnometers used at hospitals across the country are large machines located next to a patient’s bed. They are also connected to a patient’s face mask or a sensor located in life support equipment. Wideblue’s device, however, aims to compact and simplify this technology to such a point that a hand-held, battery-powered device could be developed for use by patients at home, by GPs or respiratory specialists.
- What sets Scotland apart during the tech sector jobs boom?
- ‘Code the City’ seeks to stamp out pollution in Aberdeen
- Digital agencies team up to train Scotland’s future leaders
The device uses infra-red optics to measure CO2 levels as the patient breathes, capturing data from sensors, analysing the breath record and wirelessly transmitting data so health practitioners can monitor a patient’s respiratory health.
N-Tidal is used by simply breathing in and out through the breathing tube in a normal, relaxed manner, and features a replaceable breath tube with an integrated infra-red window, which means that the device can be used by multiple patients and prevents cross-contamination.
Within seconds of use, patients or health practitioners are met with a traffic light-style system on the device, which tells the user the health status of their lungs. If necessary, the device can also indicate whether a follow-up message or call for further treatment is required.
Audible and visual prompts are also available during use, while the mouthpiece is sized to fit all ages; enabling use on children and adults alike.
Wideblue Managing Director, Russell Overend, said the device could prove to be crucial for treating patients with conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“As the first device of its kind, the personal capnometer had to be intuitive and simple to use. The device is to be used by patients with respiratory-related diseases such as asthma, COPD and CHF,” he said.
“Early clinical results show that the data from the device can be used to predict attacks or exacerbations in advance by measuring changes in CO2 profiles. Doctors can then device if a change in medication is required to prevent an attack.”
The device is currently undergoing clinical and user trials, Overend added, and has already produced “superb clinical results.”
Subject to the successful completion of the trials, and regulatory approvals, he said the company could expect units to go into commercial production in 2020.