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Collaborative Success Stories: Breathing Easy

sleeping baby

A new oxygen control system invented at the University of Missouri helps premature infants and others in respiratory distress.

Premature infants commonly have respiratory issues, including unpredictable changes in blood oxygen levels. Treatment with a ventilator or other respiratory support modality is usually successful, but the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is crucial: too little results in brain injury, while too much can cause visual impairment and blindness.

Traditionally, respiratory support oxygen percentage is set at a constant level and must be adjusted manually. Now, MU researchers Roger Fales and Ramak Amjad, together with inventor Timothy Keim, have developed a portable, adaptive oxygen control system that automatically monitors, adjusts and controls fluctuating blood oxygen levels. As the system works, it logs and analyzes past clinical measurements. Using this information, it is able to detect patterns of change and predict optimum adjustments. The result is a dynamic, patient-specific treatment system.

The new system could not only make a difference to premature infants and their families, but could also be useful in industry and the military for situations requiring supplemental oxygen use such as mining, piloting aircraft or space exploration.

Dr. Roger Fales is an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering and Dr. Ramak Amjad is a clinical assistant professor of child health and neonatology in the School of Medicine.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine