A device for rapid measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour levels in respired breath is currently under development by researchers at Oxford University, for use in critical care and anaesthesia. The analyser also has applications in sport and human performance monitoring.
The patient monitoring market is estimated to be worth $2bn in Europe. It is expected that the technology would be incorporated as a standard component of clinical patient monitoring systems. The use of respiratory analysis in the sports/exercise and defence markets has yet to be fully exploited and may also present a significant opportunity.
While patient monitoring devices are used widely in hospitals, their respiratory gas analysis capabilities are limited, due to the use of side stream analysers, which divert the respired gas away from breathing tubes for remote analysis.
The resulting slow and variable response times make calculation of gas exchange occurring at the lungs very difficult. This is particularly true in the clinical settings of anaesthesia and critical care where the flow rates or inspiratory gas compositions may vary, for example, by addition of oxygen and anaesthetics.
The Oxford device uses laser spectroscopy to measure directly the concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour in the breathing tube. This allows the calculation of gas exchange occurring at the lungs when both inspiratory gas compositions and flow rates are varying. It has a response time an order of magnitude faster than most current instruments. A working laboratory prototype has been developed and the inventors have received a Medical Research Council translational award to fund ongoing development of the device for use in clinical settings.
The device is the subject of an international patent application. Isis would like to talk to companies interested in developing the commercial opportunity.