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Diagnosing pulmonary problems effectively

The spirometers, software, and systems developed by Medikro for analysing lung function provide high-quality findings that can often lead to better treatment, an improved quality of life for people suffering from lung complaints, and lower mortality rates.

Despite affecting 4.5% of adult Europeans and 10% of children in many countries, asthma is often under-diagnosed. One of the most effective diagnostic methods here is the bronchial provocation test – which evaluates the sensitivity of the airways in a person’s lungs – 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 provocative agent 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.

To make diagnosis easier and more effective, Medikro has recently developed a new bronchial provocation software package, extending the proven capabilities of its Spiro2000 product. Together with Medikro’s spirometry system, consisting of a spirometer, software, disposable flow transducers, and a calibration syringe, this provides a complete system for general practitioners, pneumologists, and paediatricians, as well as hospitals and clinics.

A range of protocols

Medikro’s bronchial provocation software includes default study 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. Default protocols can be customised and new protocols created and stored for daily use.

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

Users can select any variable, such as FEV1 or FVC, to compare the effect of parameters such as dose, concentration, work, and inhaled air temperature.

Easy to use and easy to interpret

Like Medikro’s other products, the new bronchial provocation software package has been designed with ease of use in mind. Once the patient is ready, all the physician has to do is select the appropriate protocol and start the test.

The most common types of challenges and variables are set as default values, but can be changed in a matter of seconds.

Data is presented in a variety of graphical and numerical formats to aid interpretation. A dose response curve indicates the relevant provocative dose or concentration in the case of pharmacological provocations. Users can select any variable, such as FEV1 or FVC, to compare the effect of parameters such as dose concentration, work, and inhaled air temperature. Multiple variables can be plotted simultaneously on the dose-response graph.

The provocative dose level can be adjusted easily, as can warning levels between provocation phases. Provocative dose and provocative concentration trending allows the user to see how the patient’s response changes during their case history. Final reports can also be customised to the needs of the case in question, and presented in the form of a handy, single-sheet printout.

Medikro’s new bronchial provocation software package has been developed to further improve the well-being of patients suffering from asthma and other pulmonary diseases.

The world’s smallest spirometer

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

Weighing only 20 grams, the SpiroStar 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 ensures repeatability and reliability.

To guarantee hygiene and convenience and increase throughput, Medikro uses a patented disposable flow transducer. This is capable of handling a wide range of flow rates, from the very low rates typical of children and patients with COPD to the high rates typical of athletes.

Spiro2000 software makes an ideal companion for Medikro spirometers. Available in 14 languages, Spiro2000 is easy to install and provides a straightforward approach for selecting patient data entry, test recording, and data comparison.

In addition to storing information, the PC used by the system acts as a gateway for distributing results across a local area network. The ability to e-mail a ready-formatted or customised final report in html format, or a summary of a patient’s 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.

> Pulmonary Diagnostics Team
(Published in HighTech Finland 2008)