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Home Industry News Infrared test ‘can aid treatment of lung condition affecting premature babies’

Infrared test ‘can aid treatment of lung condition affecting premature babies’

9th December 2016

Infrared technology has been incorporated into a new diagnostic test that could aid the treatment of a life-threatening lung condition that affects premature babies.

Developed by UK manufacturer SIME Diagnostics, the new lung maturity test has been shown in a study to be an effective means of identifying infants at risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) who could benefit from early treatment.

This condition is the most common cause of death in premature babies and is caused by deficiency of surfactant in underdeveloped lungs, thereby preventing the lungs from absorbing enough oxygen.

The new test is non-invasive and can be performed using a sample of waste gastric fluid. A near-infrared light source is targeted at the sample, causing all of the molecules within it to vibrate, with each type of molecule vibrating at a different frequency.

A cloud-based machine learning system is then used to analyse the signature to identify surfactant levels, allowing treatment to be targeted only at infants who need it. This is an important advance, as inappropriate treatment can be harmful.

Lead study author Professor Henrik Verder, of the department of paediatrics at Holbaek University Hospital in Denmark, said: "By only rapidly intervening in those infants who need treatment, we can significantly improve RDS clinical outcomes, and potentially lessen the need for mechanical ventilation and oxygen."

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