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Penn Researchers Invent World's First Device To Rapidly Assess Lung Function

New Mass Spectrometer Will Aid In The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Pulmonary Disorders

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Scientists at the Center for Anesthesia Research at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have developed an unprecedented method to quickly and accurately assess lung function. In less than 10 minutes, this technique -- Micropore Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry (MMIMS) -- directly measures trace gas tensions in small blood and breath samples to determine if the lungs are working properly. The use of this novel mass spectrometry technique will be presented at the Shock Society of America's* 21st annual conference on Wednesday, June 17, in San Antonio, Texas.

Principal inventor James E. Baumgardner, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Anesthesia and Bioengineering, has designed a sensitive probe device that extends an existing method known as Multiple Inert Gas Elimination Technique (MIGET), a complex laboratory procedure for measuring lung and gas exchange efficiency. MIGET detects impaired gas exchange associated with such pulmonary disorders as acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, asthma, and emphysema. MMIMS uses polymer membranes designed specifically to carry out the MIGET method rapidly in a clinically-applicable and simplified way.

"We have known about the MIGET method and its contribution to the knowledge of lung function since 1974," explains Dr. Baumgardner. "However, the discovery of the sensitive probe device introduces a way to take this sophisticated technique out of the laboratory and into the clinical setting."

To function normally, the body relies on the lungs to obtain both a steady supply of oxygen and to eliminate carbon dioxide generated by metabolism. Abnormalities in the lungs cause unbalanced exchanges of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which result in pulmonary distress. Currentl
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Contact: Diane Giaccone
dgiaccon@mail.med.upenn.edu
215-662-2098
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
16-Jun-1998


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