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New equipment is breath of fresh air for children's lung researchers

University of Leicester medical scientists have secured funding for a piece of state-of-the-art equipment to help with their research into children's breathing.

The team of researchers working at Leicester Royal Infirmary have purchased the UK's first Exhalyzer-D, a highly-specialised device made in Switzerland.

Its purchase was made possible through the award of grants from Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA) and the Maud Elkington Trust to Dr Caroline Beardsmore and Dr Erol Gaillard of the Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, combined with matched funding from the University of Leicester.

The new equipment is designed to perform a family of tests known as washout tests, which yield information about how efficiently the fresh air inspired with each breath is distributed throughout the lungs. The tests are not painful and require the child to breathe quietly in and out of the machine for a couple of minutes or so.

Dr Beardsmore said: "Our previous equipment for washout tests was completely obsolete and was breaking down on a frequent basis. It can no longer be repaired. This new equipment uses different technology and is much quicker to set up and use. The results are available almost immediately, which was not the case before."

Dr Gaillard added: "The real beauty of this test is that it provides information about what happens in the depths of the lung, at the level of the tiny airspaces, which is not possible with any other breathing tests. We are already using it with patients and it is proving very successful."

Steve Watson, Chairman of MAARA, said: "When we were told of the benefits of this equipment and how it could be used to diagnose children in a relatively stress-free way, the committee were unanimous in agreeing that MAARA contribute funding to replace it. This will allow the LRI team to continue using an important technique which would not otherwise have been funded."


Contact: Dr Caroline Beardsmore
University of Leicester

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