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Breathe easy: lung aspiration advance.

Who: Cambridge Consultants has developed the first ever digital device for collapsed lung aspiration, giving medics better control over operation procedures and reducing invasiveness of current techniques


Technology: The process has been developed to automate the procedure of aspiration the for Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax (PSP), also known as a spontaneous collapsed lung. Aspiration is the process of removing fluid or gases from the body with a suction device, and the current procedure for collapsed lungs is a laborious manual activity. The default approach to treating major cases of PSP is thoracentesis, or pleural drainage insertion, where one inserts a chest drain into the body. Typically, a doctor or nurse repeatedly pushes and pulls a syringe, manipulating a three-way valve attached to a cannula through the chest wall.

PSP consists of a tear or hole in the wall of the lung where gas first enters the chest cavity outside the lung and then becomes trapped. Medics currently have no system of reporting aspiration pressure and can easily impart excessive vacuum pressure to the chest through their syringe, sometimes resulting in failed procedures.

Cambridge Consultants has developed an electro-mechanical digital device, called Breathe, which enables volume measurement and control by optimising the pressure and flow rate of the aspiration process. Automatic aspiration means the operator must engage with accurate, real-time data about the volume and pressure in the patient's chest cavity. Meanwhile, doctors have a new tool in which they can make more educated decisions about their patients.

Application: The Breathe device addresses a glaring inefficiency in PSP treatment, says Andrew Gow, senior engineer, medical technology, at Cambridge Consultants. "By transforming a doctor from a syringe puller to an active process manager, Cambridge Consultants has made the process of aspiration for PSP more intelligent. Breathe is equivalent to aspirating with a syringe, but it gives doctors and nurses more control and data, while reducing the likelihood of human error."

Cambridge Consultants is currently seeking commercial partners for Breathe.

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Title Annotation:MEDICAL
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Sep 8, 2010
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