Aalborg University is developing a computer system, Invent, which can calculate the optimal respirator settings for patients treated in an intensive care unit. The research team which has worked on the system since the early 1990s, expects that hospitals will be able to take it into use in three years.
Professor Steen Andreassen of the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University says: "The new system can reduce the number of lung injuries to patients who are in respirator treatment, and will help save lives." It also has the benefit of continuous monitoring:
"Today it can take some time from a change of settings until the doctor sees the patient again, observes the effect and then selects another respirator setting which is more appropriate. The Invent system is there all the time, is consistent, and has the same attitude," says Andreassen.
Invent is based on compartment models of oxygen and carbon dioxide transport, including detailed models of the in vivo acid-base balance. Decision theory is used to balance the benefits of assisted ventilation against its risks, such as hypercapnia*, hypocapnia and oxygen toxicity. The news was reported by the professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer).
*too much carbon dioxide in the blood. Hypocapnia is the opposite condition – Ed.