Scale up of personal capnometer in fight against COVID-19

Leading new product design and development company Wideblue, based in Glasgow, is accelerating production of a groundbreaking new medical device which could help the NHS quickly discover which COVID-19 patients are deteriorating and need a ventilator.

The device, N-Tidal, developed for Wideblue client Cambridge Respiratory Innovations (CRI), is a simple-to-use, fully automated, small battery powered personal capnometer which is used to measure the amount of CO2 in exhaled breath during normal relaxed breathing. The changes in CO2 concentration as a patient breathes in and out through the device are measured and can be used to assess the health of a patient’s lungs and general condition. Amid a shortage of ventilators, the device could enable clinicians to prioritise their use based on firm data. The device may also be useful to track progress of patients as they recover after ventilator use.  Normally a device called a spirometer is used to assess lung function but this requires the patient to blow long and hard into a tube; Covid-19 patients do not have the energy to do this. Moreover, blowing hard into the spirometer can disperse coronavirus particles and create an aerosol of the virus the air.  The N-Tidal device can hopefully be used to assess patients’ lungs without generating dangerous aerosols.

It is hoped the CE-marked N-Tidal device will start trials in NHS and US hospitals within two or three weeks, opening the door for a roll out across the UK and potentially globally.

N-Tidal was originally developed to be used by patients with respiratory related diseases such as asthma, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure for hospital and home monitoring. This new application will hopefully see the device used in hospitals and the community to help in the fight against Coronavirus. Currently in normal hospital use, capnometers are a large bedside machine connected to a patient’s face mask or a sensor located in life support equipment. N-Tidal is transformational as it has miniaturised the capnometer and puts it directly at the patients mouth give much greater resolution and more detailed clinical information. It is designed to be used as a personal respiratory monitor, allowing it to  be easily used in hospitals or in the home.


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