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Effective diagnosis for pulmonary problems

Despite affecting close to 5% of adult Europeans and 10% of children in many countries, asthma is often under-diagnosed. The easy-to-use systems developed by Medikro for analysing lung function can often result in better treatment for people suffering from lung complaints, improved quality of life, and lower mortality rates.

Medikro’s spirometric measurement systems – based around the world’s smallest spirometer, the SpiroStar, a PC interface, proprietary software, and a disposable flow transducer – represent unique, state-of-the-art solutions.

Weighing only 20 grams, Medikro’s spirometers can be connected to a standard USB or serial port to provide accurate and precise test results that are fully compliant with ATS, ERS, or ATS/ERS spirometry standards. A heuristic system algorithm monitors stability and guarantees repeatability and reliability.

Medikro’s patented disposable flow transducer ensures hygiene, convenience, and good throughput, and is capable of handling a wide range of flow rates, from the very low rates typical of children and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to the high rates common among athletes.

Ease of use and upgradeability were key priorities in the development of the SpiroStar Smart™ system, launched in late 2008. This has been designed, on the basis of research in a number of European countries, to allow physicians to purchase a basic starter system and add features and capabilities as their needs change, without having to change the device or core software interface they use.

SpiroStar Smart™ provides entry-level capabilities, while SpiroStar Pro™ and SpiroStar Sense™ offer additional performance.

The fact that the capabilities of Medikro systems can be seamlessly extended as physicians’ needs change makes them both user-friendly and cost-effective.

Flexible advanced software

Medikro software is available in 14 languages, is easy to install, and provides a straightforward approach for selecting patient data entry, test recording, and data comparison. Thanks to the addition of the Smart and Pro modules, it is now easy to upgrade capabilities, simply by entering a software key.

In addition to storing information, the PC used by a Medikro system acts as a gateway for distributing results across a local area network. Open database connectivity (ODBC) makes it simple to communicate with other databases, such as hospital information systems. The ability to email a ready-formatted or customised final report in html format, or a summary of a patient pulmonary function test session, to a colleague eliminates tedious paperwork.

Data from previous sessions can be reviewed in a trending screen to confirm the effect of treatment over time; while system calibration can be verified using calibration log data, making quality control a snap.

Bronchial provocation

Medikro’s bronchial provocation test, designed to evaluate the sensitivity of the airways in a person’s lungs, is a highly effective diagnostic tool, as it yields data that can help physicians diagnose a problem very precisely and prescribe the best form of treatment.

A spirometry breathing test is carried out before and after spray inhalation, using methacholine or an environment-specific agent, to measure and compare how much air a person can breathe in and out, and how rapidly.

Medikro’s system – consisting of a spirometer, software, disposable flow transducers, a calibration syringe, and bronchial provocation software – provides a complete system for general practitioners, pneumologists, and paediatricians, as well as hospitals and clinics.

The software includes default protocols for the most common types of tests used to diagnose asthma – histamine, methacholine, mannitol, and adenosine – as well as for exercise provocation and cold air provocation in the case of SpiroStar Sense™. Default protocols can be customised and new protocols stored for daily use.

When creating a custom protocol, challenge and bronchodilatator agents can be selected from a list of the most common. Protocols can be imported and exported in XML format very easily, which enables testing to be carried out anywhere and the results sent to shared databases, something that can be particularly useful for international research projects, for example.

Physicians can select any variable to compare the effect of parameters such as dose concentration, work, and inhaled air temperature.
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> Pulmonary Diagnostics Team
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)