Hope for Covid victims

Design firm Wideblue in ventilator breakthrough

The N-Tidal device could help sufferers

Product design and development company Wideblue, based in Glasgow, is accelerating production of a new medical device which could help the NHS 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.

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Moreover, blowing hard into the spirometer can disperse coronavirus particles and create an aerosol of the virus the air.  The N-Tidal device is expected 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.

Russell Overend, managing director, said: “Wideblue has made 200 devices already and has a purchase order for another 1,000 units which will be manufactured over the next few weeks.

“These devices were destined for clinical trials with COPD and Asthma patients but these devices are now being reconfigured and reallocated to Covid-19 patients.

“We are very hopeful these N-Tidal devices can be deployed in hospitals within the next couple of weeks”. 

CRI is currently working alongside hospital trusts to generate protocols for use and is seeking ethics committee approval to start trials.

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